What About God's Gifts?

The Season of Advent is approaching and so is the closing of the Liturgical Year A. We have been hearing Gospel Readings from Matthew for the past year and he will end it with one of his most dynamic texts on Christ the King, “The Judgement of the Nations” (Mt.25:31-46). The Readings, however, for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time seem to prepare us for the end. They speak of the value of a worthy wife and her good works (Proverbs 31: 10-31). The Psalm (128) sings of blessing those who fear the Lord and St. Paul in his Letter to the Thessalonians (1 Thes 5:1-6) reassures those who are prepared for the coming of the Lord.

The Gospel According to Matthew

The Gospel Reading brings all of this together in the Parable of the Talents. There are two Gospel choices for the last Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A. The longer, more challenging reading (Mt. 25:14-30) focuses on what happens when the servants are given a gift and the master holds them accountable for what they have received. The one who he gave the smallest talent to, simply buried it without even trying to multiple it, as the other two had. The master cursed and punished him. The shorter gospel version (Mt.25:14-5,19-21) focuses on the two servants who managed their talents and made a profit yet mentions nothing about the third who was lazy. It presents a more positive and encouraging message of those who put their talents to good use. I think it is interesting to compare the two versions and then revisit the longer text.

Living the Gospel

When we put the talents, God’s gifts, to good use, we will be rewarded. God gives us gifts and the opportunity to use them. Even if we fail and are not able or capable of multiplying our gift, we must try to make use of it. Even when we fail, God does not punish us, he shows us how to use them. Even when we feel that we are not worthy to use the gift we are given. We must place out trust in the Lord. He will lift us up and we will share in our master’s joy.