2 Mc 7:1.20-31 / Ps 17
. . . from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
(Luke 19: 26)
Thank God for talents we received,
And His Word we’ve come to believe.
May these talents lead us to give
More worth in each day that we live.
They were nearing Jerusalem, where the Jews were hoping a new kingdom would be established if Jesus was truly the Messiah. Thus, Jesus told them this parable about a nobleman who went abroad to receive a kingdom and then return: Calling ten of his servants, he gave them ten gold coins, and said to them, ‘Invest these till I return.’ But his citizens hated him and sent a delegation after him, saying, ‘We do not want this man to reign over us.’ Upon his return with the kingship, he summoned the servants that he might know what they had gained by trading. The first came before him, saying, ‘Lord, your money has made ten additional ones.’ And he said to him, ‘Well done, good servant! Because you have been faithful in a very little, you shall have authority over ten cities.’ And the second came, saying, ‘Lord, your gold coins have made 5 more.’ And he said to him, ‘Come rule over five cities.’ But one came saying, ‘Lord, here is your gold coin, which I kept laid away in a napkin; for I was afraid of you, because you are a severe man; you take up what you did not lay down, and reap what you did not sow.’ He said to him, ‘Your own words have condemned you, you wicked servant! If you knew I was a severe man, then why did you not put my money in the bank, and I could have collected it with interest?’ And he said to those who stood by, ‘Take the gold coin from him, and give it to him who has the ten. I tell you, that to every one who has will more be given; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. But as for these enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, bring them here and slay them before me.’” And when he had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem.
Jesus told this parable to illustrate four kinds of people. The first two are His true and faithful servants who make good use of the gifts He has entrusted to them, each according to his capabilities. The third type are the unreliable followers, those who just “come along for the ride” but are sadly lacking in any personal commitment or even initiative. The last kind are the worst of the lot, who reject Him as their Master, and even conspire against Him. These deserve the most severe punishment.
I believe our Lord taught this parable not so much for the benefit of His apostles and closest followers, (who gained authority over cities), nor for His enemies, (the scribes, pharisees and high priests), who rejected Him. His lesson was intended for the great masses of people who are uncommitted or lukewarm, or for some reason are afraid to take the leap of faith. Jesus seems to be telling them: “From him who has no faith, even the little that he has will be taken away.” Most Christians belong to this “third category” of Christ’s servants, who fill up His churches on Sundays and holy days of obligation, but are mostly ignorant about His Word. Their idea of God is a Severe Disciplinarian Whose rules and statutes must be strictly followed, but Whose Good News of salvation is “kept laid away” like their unopened Bible, gathering dust on a shelf. God has given each one of us a ‘gold coin’ or gift that we can use in propagating His kingdom here on earth. He does not expect that we can multiply His capital in our life five or ten times over. But at least let us give back to Him some “interest” for His investment, lest we lose our most precious possession.
Thank You, Father God, for Your gift of faith. May we use the talent that You have given us to propagate Your Good News in our community and places of work. Amen.