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Thirty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Mt. 25:14-30

Jesus gives us another of His famous parables in today's Gospel reading. A rich man called together his servants and divided his wealth among them. He gave one five talents, another two and there was one for the third of them. The man then went on a journey and was away a long while.

When he came home, he called his servants to find out what they had done with his money. The first two men reported that they had doubled the amounts they had been given, and both of them were highly commended and rewarded. But the third man told how he had buried his money in the ground and, therefore, had nothing but the original sum. In response to this his master said, "Take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the five talents. For everyone who has will be given, and he will have more than enough, but from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

Now, what did Jesus mean by this story and especially that last part, which some people find rather disturbing? On the surface it seems that He is endorsing the idea that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. But if we know Him at all, we know that cannot be His message. Nobody ever had more respect or compassion for the poor than Jesus Who was poor Himself, and some of His most biting words were directed at those who took advantage of low-income people.

In this parable Jesus was not discussing economics. He was simply stating a law of life that applies to all of us, rich and poor alike. Each of us has an endowment entrusted to us by God. We do not all have the same. Some have more; others have less. What a dull and boring world this would be if we were all alike!

But God made us individuals and all different - no two of us are alike. What beauty, charm and vitality of life are found in the variety of people! A world of billions, all of them made in the image of God, and yet each one is unique. Every time God makes a baby, He breaks the mould and throws it away. You're an original who has never been copied. So, there's no one else in this world exactly like you!

Jesus said, "To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one; each in proportion to his ability." That's how it is with you and me. Everyone has God-given talents … perhaps artistic, musical, architectural, sporting or academic. Some people work best with figures, others with words. Some labour with their hands or on the land, others are born carers or home-makers. The list is almost endless!

And whatever our talents each of us has a duty to use them to the best of our abilities – for the benefit of ourselves, our families and our communities, and to God's greater glory. This is because each of us has a little piece of God's great gift of life and a little segment of time to see what we can do with it.

Lord Jesus, we know that life cannot be hoarded, but help us to make good use of our time on Earth – because one day we, too, will have to give an account of our stewardship and how we used our talents that God gave us.

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