The Gospel According to Luke (19:11-28)
While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’ His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’ But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ He replied, ‘Well-done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came and reported, ‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’ And to this servant too he said, ‘You, take charge of five cities.’ Then the other servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.’ He said to him, ‘With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’ And to those standing by he said, ‘Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.’ But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’ He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’” After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
Opening Prayer: Grant us we pray, O, Lord our God, the constant gladness of being devoted to you, for it is full and lasting happiness to serve with constancy the author of all that is good. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God forever and ever. Amen.
Today we are asked to reflect on the special gifts that God has given to each one of us. How are we using them for the benefit of our brothers and sisters in need? Where do we invest our gifts and our talents?
The message is clear: the more we invest, the more we will gain. We cannot stand still or just cling to what we have. The only way to gain is to let go, to give and to share. Good examples of this would be St Francis of Assisi or Mother Teresa. Many feel that life consists of amassing more and that security is in how much we have. But Luke’s Gospel says that it is not in the collecting but in the sharing that generates wealth, the wealth that really matters – freedom, security and peace. Is that true for us?
In this passage, Christ presents himself as this nobleman who goes off to obtain the kingship for himself and will one day return. His mission is to redeem his children, as our Universal King. Our mission is to receive this great gift and to collaborate with him in making his Kingdom present. Each Christian should consider him or herself counted among these ten servants, charged with the care of “talents” in the service of our King.
In this gospel, Jesus talks about the talents. We have all been given gifts. If we use these gifts wisely, not only for our own benefit and the benefit of others, we grow and blossom. If on the other hand we fail to use them, we remain stuck and stagnant. It is in the order of things to grow and develop, and as we do so, we open our minds and hearts to all the goodness that God wants to give us.
The ending of the passage hints at an answer: These coins could represent the life of grace, the dwelling of God in the soul. This sanctifying grace comes from Baptism, we know; it is wounded by sin but grows with every act of openness and surrender, of trust and self-giving to God. In a word, love causes this life to grow, because God is love. And all authentic love comes from him. Fear, doubt, clinging to one’s own insecurities—these can make us like the fearful servant, unwilling to take the risk of love.
Closing Prayer: Lord Jesus, we place ourselves at your feet. You are our King and King of the whole world. You invite us to share in your mission, to make present your Kingdom here, within our own life, home, family, school, office, and circles of influence. This is a great mission and you know that sometimes we are afraid and we hold back. Open our hearts to a greater trust in you so that we may keep giving of ourselves to others with love, as you do, every day. In this way, may your grace, through your life, increase in us.
Action of the Day: Lord, today by your grace we will seek to strengthen ourselves as we live in the spirit of the gospel in our daily lives. Help our souls to develop by showing grace to those that we encounter in our daily lives.