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Reign of God: Where talents are not tools of profit but of love and service

Our Gospel Reading for this Sunday pertains to the different scenarios of parables leading up to the scenario of Parousia in Matt 25:31-46, in the coming celebration of Christ the King  Sunday. 

The Gospel, commonly known as the Parable of Talents presents a narrative of a trader/businessman who gave “Talents” to the three individuals: the first one given 5000, the second 2000, and the third, 1000. Each of them doubled the talents given to them except the third one, who buried the “talents” under the ground, fearing the master’s wrath had he not successfully made a profit from what had been given unto him. 

In Jesus’ time, talent is used as a unit of weight equivalent to 80 pounds, and 6000 Denarii in currency. One talent equals an individual’s labor of 16 years. Looking at this picture, it is not hard to understand why the master is enraged that the third servant did not make use of the talents that were given to him. 

Most scholars would interpret our reading as a sign of God’s grace period after the one, great sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ. The Apostle Paul expounds this understanding that we are given graces to [1] make use of the time we have until the second coming; [2] to preserve and bear fruits the graces that we have received, and; [3] to prove ourselves worthy in the time of judgment. When the master returns, we will have to account for what we did with what he has given to us.

However, the parable did not explicitly say that the master is God himself. Notice that verse 24 says that the master ‘harvests here he has not sown and gathered where he did not scattered seed.’ The master also ordered to take from the one who was unable to make a profit and give it to the first person with ten bags. This master, like any other master of the modern era, only sees the ones who could make a profit, and gain extravagantly from the sweat and tears of the laborer who has to trade and create more wealth. The rich get richer, and the poor get robbed more. 

The Philippines suffers from the kind of master[s] mentioned above. Laws that enable politicians to fill their pockets and ‘legally’ rob from the taxpayers’ money are rubberstamped – that is, swiftly passed, while the every day, the poor Juan and Maria, suffers from the rise of prices of commodities that can hardly meet daily needs. In the midst of all this, we hope for the Reign of God where talents are not tools of profit but of love and service. 

Brothers and sisters, never forget who your Master truly is. And it is definitely not the one who sucks your blood out of your labor, but the one who rejoices in your talent, in your worth as a worker in God’s vineyard.

- Newsletter -

Gospel reflection of Fr. Allan Khen Apus of Iglesia Filipina Independiente for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Prv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 Ps 128:1-2, 3, 4-5 1 Thes 5:1-6 Mt 25:14-30

Balik-Tanaw is a group blog of the Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR). The Lectionary Gospel reflection is an invitation for meditation, contemplation, and action.

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