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Thirty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time

As we approach the end of the Church’s year, Matthew’s gospel is describing the time when Jesus was approaching his passion and death. His parables draw our attention towards our final reckoning with God. Today we read about the servants who were given talents according to their ability. At the beginning of the story, the master entrusted his property to these servants. The word "entrusted" is significant: it seems he gave all he had. This is in fact what Jesus did; he gave everything.

The man who received the five talents had won the lottery. He was a multi-millionaire! He and the one who had received two talents (also a millionaire) were appreciative of their master’s confidence in them and were prepared to take risks with the colossal sums deposited with them. They were people who realised their own worth and were prepared to accept responsibility. Their master was delighted with their performance and promised greater things for them. The man with one talent, still a millionaire, obviously had little self-esteem and no loyalty or love for his master. He played safe, and in burying the money dug a hole for himself as well. He was reprimanded severely and punished harshly. The man he was dealing with did not make excuses for him or show mercy.

The parable would seem to be a worldly tale with a deeply spiritual meaning. God has given everything - even His own son. He has bestowed on each of us an abundance of gifts, and expects a return. We should spend time mining inwardly for the treasure that lies there, often undiscovered. Unlike the man in the parable, however, who leaves his servants, God travels with us. The Spirit of love constantly nudges us to take advantage of opportunities where we can make full use of the investment that has been made in us. We should also remember that the person who will judge us, is the one who forgave the thief who asked to be remembered.