Sunday reflection: Matthew 25:14–30

“Sunday Reflection” is a regular feature, looking at the specific readings used in today’s Mass in Catholic parishes around the world. The reflection represents only my own point of view, intended to help prepare myself for the Lord’s day and perhaps spark a meaningful discussion. Previous Sunday Reflections from the main page can be found here.  For previous Green Room entries, click here.

This morning’s Gospel reading is Matthew 25:14–30:

Jesus told his disciples this parable:

“A man going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one— to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money.

“After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’

Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’”

I’m going to apologize in advance for the more cursory reflection I have to offer Hot Air readers today. A confluence of events has kept me from tackling this until almost the last possible moment. Allahpundit went on vacation and we’re juggling some of his immense workload — really, you have no idea how hard the guy works — and my wife’s been sick for the past few days with a head cold extraordinaire. It’s nothing serious, but it’s kept me busy with lots of tasks that I’d normally not be doing. Like, y’know, picking up after myself.

Today’s readings have a few thoughts about that, actually. Our first reading today comes from Proverbs 31, on the value of finding a “worthy wife.” The Scripture tells us that “her value is far beyond pearls,” and cautions not to value women by the material standards of any time, but perhaps most especially our time now. “Charm is deceptive and beauty fleeting,” our reading tells us; “the woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.” My wife not only serves the Lord, but she also has a great deal to do with my own faith life. This week, though, it’s her practical contributions that are most apparent. She’s just better at this than I am, although I can at least keep up to some degree. Her support allows me to do the work I do, which is why I always remind people that if they like my work, they should thank the First Mate. (If they don’t, well, that’s all on me, I’m afraid.) When she’s on the bench, it serves as a stark reminder of her contributions.

Marcia doesn’t have to do all of the tasks she does on a normal basis. Some would claim that we should divide up the chores equally, and that’s certainly a fair argument. Marcia insists on doing these, though, for a couple of reasons. First, there are some things she won’t trust me to do. (Some other time, I’ll tell about the time I got fired from grocery shopping.) Mainly, though, she has a talent for those tasks. She likes to keep up a warm and inviting home, and dedicates herself to the tasks involved, and uses those talents to support others in the community as well. She bakes and cooks for hospitality committees, for her Bible study groups, and for friends who are seriously ill. She has gifts of prayer, and puts those to use in the same manner. Marcia does not keep her talents hidden in the mission field, but puts them to practical use for our own benefit and for the Lord’s as well.

Our Gospel reading today emphasizes this as a necessity for salvation. We are all given talents, gifts of the Holy Spirit, which we are called to use in God’s service. Some have more gifts, some less, but the real issue isn’t how many gifts we have, but how we put them to use. Do we use them to serve only ourselves, hiding them from the rest of the world? Or do we put them to use not just for ourselves, but for the betterment of others and to lift people up to salvation through the Lord? Those who give from what they are given will share in the joy of the Lord, but those who refuse to use their talents for any other purpose but themselves will not have formed themselves for eternal salvation, despite the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

A world where no one shared those gifts would be a bleak, isolated life indeed. Let’s all work to make our world something better, and show the love of Christ in our actions.

And with that … back to work. Get well soon, honey. Really, really soon.