Gospel Reflection for the 33rd Sunday Ordinary Time Year A
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
‘It is like a man on his way abroad who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third is one; each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out.
The man who had received the five talents promptly went and traded with them and made five more. The man who had received two made two more in the same way. But the man who had received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now a long time after, the master of those servants came back and went through his accounts with them. The man who had received the five talents came forward bringing five more. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness”. Next the man with the two talents came forward. “Sir,” he said “you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have shown you can be faithful in small things, I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master’s happiness”. Last came forward the man who had the one talent. “Sir,” said he “I had heard you were a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered; so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground. Here it is; it was yours, you have it back.” But his master answered him, “You wicked and lazy servant! So you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered? Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers, and on my return I would have recovered my capital with interest. So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents. For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough; but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away. As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him out into the dark, where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth.”
Why did he hide the money — maybe he was being asked to be dishonest – use the money for purposes that cheated others. Most money made in the way of this parable was dishonest – like drug or sex trafficking now, or treating our migrant workers badly, trafficking or paying off violence or buying in a way that diminished others. The servant was an honest man and suffered for it.
Ever feel you were compromised by being asked to do something you knew was wrong? A young person persuaded into watching internet porn or into the pressure of sexual activity, or alcohol or drugs? You feel you may suffer in the future if you don’t give in!
The godfathers of crime and drugs and violence, murders, have a lot to answer for. Those who make money at the expense of others. This is one way of reading this parable. About the facts of life that people try to get people to do their dirty work, and they can punish them for it.
The man in the end got thrown out by the greedy master – but from God he will hear the other, ‘well done, come inherit the kingdom.’
Our gospel inspires us to live the honest life ourselves and not to put others under moral pressure to do wrong.
Today we are encouraged by the man who would not do dirty work for anyone, would not take part in schemes that damaged others, and is remembered eternally in the story of Jesus. The real ‘well done….’
Donal Neary SJ