33rd ordinary Sunday
Proverbs 31: 10-13, 19-20, 30-31
1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6
Matthew 25: 14-30
Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more
Before coming into the kingdom of God the disciples of Christ have to prepare themselves in order to be merit to enter it. All the reading of mass today tells about an invitation to enter into the kingdom of Christ and how to prepare oneself to come into it
In the the parable of the talent, we hear that the master of the servants is going on a journey then he comes and asks for the talents entrusted to his servants. The entire time we have in our lives will be final when the master comes to call us and ask the responsibility of the talent we have. The time before the return of Christ is a time that must be used responsibly. The history will be a revelation of who has used the time well. But how do we use the time responsibly in order the history will be a revelation? The answer is being a faithful servant. The first and second readings deliver and elaborate on how to be a faithful servant told by the gospel.
The disciples of Christ are the servants and Jesus Christ is the master of the servants. All of the disciples of Christ are given talents: one is given five talents, another two talents, and the other one talent. At least every one of the disciples of Christ receives one talent and none does not have talent. Talents can be wealth, mind, power, time, health, or something that one has that one can share with humanity and nature. In faith, talents are gifts, everything is a gift and everything is meant to be given back in service of love for the Lord. The main purpose of talents just for the greater glory of God, and for the salvation of anything so it is not for the glory of the self.
Jesus reminds us of our task toward the talents we receive with this parable which is to be faithful servants. The two servants are called faithful servants because both of them have traded the talents entrusted so that the talents of the master are added. The master is so joyful with the added talents they have made. But the parable does not inform us how both of them trade their talents so that the talents multiply. The big question is how to trade the talents to make it more.
The way of the two faithful servants to trade their talents is allegorized by a worthy wife narrated in the Proverb -first reading-. To make talent entrusted become more is to do the works of the worthy wife. The works of the worthy wife are that she brings him good and not evil, all the days of her life. Whatever she does only has one intention to do good and not to do evil. She has sought wool and flax, and she has worked these by the counsel of her hands. This phrase is about productivity and the attitude to make it. At work, she is a hard worker, does not give up, perseveres, is full of creativity, and has an iron mentality so that productivity is made. But at the same time, she does not forget those who are in need. It is impossible for her just to think about herself and forget the other. One can always remember the fellows because one has compassion. Absolutely when one has compassion, one always helps the needy one. This faithful and loving wife works diligently to bring good to herself and others. That is why she is praised as a worthy wife for increasing the quality of life within and empowering those who are in need around her. Her value is far beyond a pearl. She is a worthy wife with her value which is far beyond a pearl because she fears the lord. This is the disposition that enables her to do and have such actions. The disposition and actions of the worthy wife in Paul’s language make one stay alert and sober in a fulfilling time before the return of Jesus Christ. The worthy wife’s actions make herself called children of light and day. The worthy wife is the faithful servant who makes the entrusted talents become more. And let her works praise her at the gates. The disciples of Christ must have the spirit of the worthy wife and imitate the works of the worthy wife so that the disciples of Christ can be faithful servants multiplying their entrusted talents.
Otherwise, Jesus through the parable also shows the lazy and wicked servant. The lazy and wicked servant is the disciples who bury the entrusted talents so that their talents cannot multiply and are not useful for the benefit of life. What the wicked servant does is contrary to what the worthy wife does. The wicked servant does not work or has inertia so he does not bring goodness to everything around him. The action of the wicked servant is bringing evil all the days of life. He wastes time by doing unnecessary actions, is greedy, and has no productivity in all he does. Toward the other, he does not reach out his hand to the poor and extend his arm to the needy, he has no compassion. The wicked servant is the worthless wife and will repay the master with evil, all the days of her life. The cause the servant becomes lazy and wicked is fear of failure indeed because of fear of failure he has refused everything even to try to be successful. Burying talent means to perish the mind and creativity, to close every opportunity to be useful and fruitful to the world. Poverty and slothfulness are the fruit of his actions. The wicked servants in Paul’s language are the children of night or darkness because burying talent is equal to putting life in darkness. All the buried talent makes her beauty deceptive and beauty fleeting. Sure, for him everything is peace and security because no challenges in life, and he rejects any kind of effort and struggle. Then the day overtakes him like a thief. The reason is that a sudden disaster comes upon him because everything is taken away when the master comes and next the master throws this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
God gives each person different talents for their intended uses. Some of us are clearly very talented with valuable abilities, but there is no one, who can say he has been gifted with nothing. Even a person with only one talent has something to offer to others (Fr. Tony Kadavil). Every disciple of Christ has their own story and their way of trading their talents. Then, being a faithful servant like Jesus asked all his disciples means that they must become the best version of themselves. It can be achieved by being as diligent and industrious as a loyal and faithful wife in the use of their God-given gifts. The best version of the self happens when the disciples of Christ are creative and lovingly active disciples. They share and use their talent for a better life, to increase the benefit for humanity and nature. Unlike the one-talent man, they take their talent and bring forth good, not evil; she reaches her hands to the poor and extends her arms to the needy. They who do it find themselves and the meaning of life and they are constantly and immeasurably enriched by the talent they share and the value of their sharing. God blesses generous sharers. For that reason, God gives more responsibilities to those who make the best version of themselves. A person who does not refuse a gift of the Lord receives it and consequently has more (Fr. Tony Kadavil).
To be the best version of the self for sure appears when the spirit of good, justice, love, and truth are inserted in every decision, vision, logic, thinking, and action one takes. The disposition of the heart must be fear of the Lord that can be translated into love of Jesus and neighbor, indeed nature. It gives inner strength to face any kind of hardship and it develops the determination and willpower to be a faithful servant. It is not the task of the disciples of Christ only to sit in judgment of God but to do their best in situations in which they find themselves. When one is kind, merciful, fair to oneself, others, and nature, when one has the spirit to foster productivity for the benefit of life in one’s profession, such as being a good teacher, a good entrepreneur, a good driver, a good singer whatever job one has then one will the best version of the self. The entrusted talent has been a realization to produce fruit in the work of faith, hope, and charity. Real joy comes by only being the best of the self. Remember by being the best version of the self one becomes a faithful servant and shares the master’s joy. Give her a reward for her labor.
This parable prevents us from being the worst version of ourselves which is the wicked and lazy servant. Out of fear, he preserves the gift jealously and selfishly. He does not do any kind of crime but he is condemned because he fails to make more of the talent entrusted to him. It means he is just a hoarder of talent because a person with only one talent has something to offer to others and the world. One talent can change, repair, and beautify the life of anything to be a better life. But he denies it and refuses to do it. In truth, the worst version of the self is caused by egoism and does not care about the other and nature. Every decision, action, and vision he has is inserted with the spirit of profit for themselves. Self-centeredness produces fear, anxiety, and hate. In addition, one will be the worst version of the self when one does not do the good thing that one must and should do. Not doing the good, just, true, lovable thing is also a bad thing. The life of a wicked servant is sad because his talent is not used to increase the quality of life around him. He finds no meaning for his entire life then his life bears no fruit. Misery escorts him because he lives in loneliness and indeed finally what God has been given to him will lose it because God punishes the selfish hoarders.
There is an autobiography Antonio Stradivari that confirms how to be the best version of ourselves by making talent fruitful. Stradivari is the famous mark of violin and he is the best artist in making stringed musical instruments. He is the maker who brought the craft of violin-making to its highest pitch of perfection. Antonio Stradivari was born in Cremona, Italy, in 1644. He loved and had a passion for music such as singing, and playing music. When he was a boy and registered for the Cremenona Boys’ choir, he was rejected because his voice was high and squeaky. Then, he took violin lessons and of course, he was not good at violin. His friends mocked him for anything related to music. The only talent he had was wood carving. Stradivari was a pupil of Nicolo Amati a well-known violin maker when he was 22. Stradiaviari was trained by Nicolo on how to make the best violin. Slowly Stradivari became the craft of violin. In 1684 at 36 age, Stradivari began to produce larger models, using a deeper-colored varnish and experimenting with minute details in the form of the instrument he began to place his own labels on the violins of his making, each one bearing a label that read, Antonius Stradivarius Cremonensis Faciebat Anno…(Antonio Stradivarius of Cremona made in the year…). Until now the stringed music he made still exists and produces beautiful voices. Antonio Stradivari is universally regarded as the greatest violin maker in history, and the value of his instruments reflects that exalted status. Antonio couldn’t sing or play or preach or teach, but he used the ability he had: carving wood to produce beautiful violins bearing beautiful music. Antonio is a challenge to people who have only a single talent and who try to bury the talent for fear of failure — like the lazy servant in Jesus’ parable.
 This story is quoted from Fr. Tony Kadavil
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