XXXIII Ordinary Sunday
What accounts can you give to God today?
Last Sunday's parable (the ten girls) encouraged us to be intelligent and far-sighted. Today's one encourages action, to take advantage of the gifts received from God. Jesus has used shortly before, in another parable, the image of the Lord and his employees. Now it does it again but using the context of urban and pre-capitalist culture. The lord's wealth does not consist of land, crops, and herds of cows and sheep. It consists of constant and sound millions because the famous "talents" have nothing to do with intelligence. The talent was an amount of silver that varied according to the countries, ranging from 26 kg in Greece, 27 in Egypt, 32 in Rome, and 59 in Israel. Consequently, the three administrators receive approximately 300, 120, and 60 kg of silver.
The first two double that amount by negotiating with the money entrusted to them. But the parable stops at the third, who bothers to find a hidden place, digs a hole, and buries the talent. The current reader, aware of so many similar cases, wonders who has been the most intelligent. Is it preferable to put the capital in risky shares or keep it in a safe? On the other hand, the owner of the parable is clear: you had to invest the money and take advantage of it, as the first two employees did. Why has the third not done the same? He says it himself: because he knows his master, he is afraid of him, and he preferred not to take risks. And it ends with a laconic: "Here is yours".
However, the man does not share that excuse or that attitude. What has moved the employee has not been fear, but negligence and laziness. They don't care about his lord and his interests. And he makes a decision that, currently, would have provoked demonstrations and riots by all the unions: he throws him in jail (“throw him out, into the darkness”).
The unions would be right, and they would get the employee reinstated, even with large damages. But the Lord of the parable does not depend on unions or labor courts. You have the full right to hold each one of us accountable for the treasure you have entrusted to us.
As with the oil in the parable of the girls, the talents have been open to multiple interpretations: human qualities, the gift of faith, mission within the church, etc. None of them exclude others. The parable offers a splendid occasion to carry out a self-examination: what have I received from God, at all levels, human, religious, family, professional, ecclesial? What have I done with it? Has it been hidden in a drawer? Has it been useful to others? As it is said in the same Gospel of Matthew: Has my light shone before men so that they may glorify the Father in heaven? Do I think it will be enough to tell him: "Here is yours"?
The parable ends with some very strange words: "To those who have, more will be given, and to those who do not have, even what they have will be taken away." The meaning of the phrase is now clearer: "Whoever produces will be given, and whoever does not produce what they have will be taken away." So are things. Life increases in giving and weakens in isolation and comfort; life matures as it is given to give life to others. That is ultimately the mission. (Cf. EG 10). Hence, today we speak that the paradigm of the Church is the missionary exit, that is: to leave the comfort and dare to reach all the peripheries that need the light of the Gospel, without fear, without delay, without disgust.
To be faithful to the dream of Jesus, to be faithful to the Kingdom of God, therefore docility and missionary creativity are required, this supposes a contact with the homes, with the life of the people, it is a danger to lose this contact with the reality.
Faced with the great challenges that the current situation presents us: Let's get out! Let's go out to offer the whole life of Jesus Christ. As the Holy Father Pope Francis has said: I prefer a Church that has been damaged, wounded, and stained from going out into the street, rather than a Church that is ill from being confined and the comfort of clinging to its own security. I do not want a Church worried about being the center and ending up closed in a tangle of obsessions and procedures. If something should bother us in a holy way and concern our conscience, it is that so many of our brothers live without the strength, the light, and the consolation of friendship with Jesus Christ, without a community of faith that contains them, without a horizon of meaning and life. More than the fear of being wrong, I hope that we are moved by the fear of locking ourselves in the structures that give us false containment, in the norms that make us implacable judges, in the customs where we feel calm, while outside there is a hungry crowd and Jesus He repeats to us tirelessly: «Give them something to eat! (Mk 6.37). (EG 49).
Brothers and sisters, let us not be afraid to put at the service of others what God has given us, let us not be afraid to give ourselves as Jesus has done, this is the mystique of mission.
Let us never forget that the Lord will ask us to account for what we have done or not done. Because After a long time that man returned and called his servants to account.
+Faustino Armendáriz Jiménez
OMCC Ecclesiastical Advisor