Today's Gospel: Matthew 25 Parable of the Talents

Matthew 25: 14 - 30
14 "For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property;
15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.
16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more.
17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more.
18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money.
19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.
20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' 21 His master said to him,Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.'
22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' 23 His master said to him,Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.‘
24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26 But his master answered him,You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed?
27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest.
28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents.
29 For to every one who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.’

I don’t get it.

To me, this Gospel sounds like it really is speaking of being wise and shrewd with your money, being a good employee, being a good steward, and investing.

I am a poor person. College educated, and a hard worker, but life has dealt me many blows, and as a single mom, I put everything toward my children, and I don’t have any investments. I could have much more accumulation on this earth, but I chose to stay home to raise my children and home school. Now I’m single, middle aged, and have nothing invested. I’ve lived a lot of years but I don’t think I have anything tangible to show for it.

I feel very condemned when I read this reading.
This is where Sola Scriptura can really get sticky.
Only I’m not Sola Scriptura anymore, but I’m Catholic.

I know that my understanding isn’t the end product, but we seek to understand through the Church’s lens.

What is the Catholic understanding of this parable?

I’m no expert on scripture but here goes. I don’t think Jesus is talking exclusively abut money here. God also gives us time and talent. We not only tithe, but donate time to his work and our natural abilities, which he gave us. Its not about increasing our earthly riches, but about using what we are given to benefit God.

Oh, our priest did a wonderful homily on this gospel today! I won’t be as good but I’ll try to summarize.

Our priest mentioned that each servant was given money ‘according to his ability’ as Scripture said. That God was not trying to burden people by giving them tasks too hard for them.

Then he said that the two servants who did make more were both rewarded “in the same way”. Both were told they were good and faithful servants who had been responsible in small ways and would now be trusted in larger ways, and to ‘enter their Master’s joy’. IOW, the emphasis was not on the money per se but on the servants being **good **and being faithful to their master. They were not afraid of the task given to them. One made ‘more’ money than the other but both succeeded.

Then he said that the third servant came up and basically criticized the Master (“Master, I knew you were a hard man who gathered where you did not scatter, etc”) as an excuse for not doing anything other than burying the money. He was trying to cop out. And the Master called him not only lazy but wicked. Wicked is strong language but justified, for the third servant had just as much ability as the other servants did for the task he was assigned yet was indeed lazy. As the Master said, it would have been a simple matter, had he indeed taken any sort of effort, for the servant to have put the talent into a bank to get the interest. But this wicked servant let his talent go to waste.

Father said that it was not money but a person’s abilities which are being talked of here. The first two servants used their abilities to their fullest, being both good (obedient) and faithful (trusting that the Master’s faith in them was justified). The third servant did not trust the Master and was both lazy (burying his responsibility and letting it lie) and wicked (trying to blame others for his lack of success).

Father then said that we should be taking stock (if we haven’t already) because God has given each of certain certain ‘talents’ and graces in order to carry out His plan for each and every one of us and that it is up to us to make sure that we are utilizing those talents to His service at all times in the fullest possible way, for we are all going to be called to account for them.

And he warned us of the dangers of ‘false humility’, of saying, “God, I just don’t have the ability to do this work” (he said, “You might indeed not have the ability but God does; you need to open yourself to let Him work through you but He can only do that if you are working, not sitting back expecting Him to do it without you”), or of saying, "God, I need a break right now so I just want to put aside my ‘task’ for a week or two’ (which will stretch to a month, months, years etc.) He finished with the trenchant reminder that as the end of the gospel shows, when they give the third servant’s buried talent to the servant with 10, that ‘you have to use it or lose it’, and that means every day.

So please don’t worry about whether you did enough with your ‘money’. You need to consider whether you are **now **doing enough with whatever gifts God has given you to use in this life in His plan (which means you also need to listen to Him about what His plan for you is). Like you I’m also in the middle years and like most people I haven’t always lived up to God’s plan, so this gospel and sermon was a real wakeup call. It’s renewing my commitment to God, my daily commitment as part of my lifelong ‘part’ that God has given me, that I need to seek, and to do to the best of my ability, every day, for Him. That’s what’s important. That’s our ‘talent’.

God bless.

You not only got it, you lived it…talents are not exclusive to money and your children are your tangible gifts as your investment was in them. In this parable, as always, charity (or love) is what Christ calls us to…teachccd :slight_smile:

Hi, graceandglory!

I think that part of your confusion is that many non-Catholics view wealth, health, and general success in a direct relationship to spiritual maturity… the lack of temporal success signifies a poor spiritual life or lack thereof; not so!

Just read the narrative of the early Church (Acts) none of the Apostles became wealthy; not one had optimum health; not one was spared persecution.

The only way that your life has failed is if you’ve decided to home-school your children so that you could stay in bed all day and bark orders at them; yet, if you intructed your children well and taught them about the Faith and brought them to Jesus… you’ve just multiplied the coins given to you by Christ!

Have you assited others in their search for the Truth? Are you involved in your parish (even in the most simplest of ways) and have you instructed your children to do as well? …the coins are continuing to multiply…

Remember Mother Theresa of Calcuta? …she never made any money but she was an excellent steward!

…know a little of the story of that flying Nun some call Mother Angelica–she started out in the red (both health and wealth) confided in Christ, took the coins, fought against established norms… 26 years later EWTN is massive! Mother Angelica is still in the red but the coins have multiplied tremendously.

These cases are the exception to the rule; but remember that we are not all called to be Mother Angelica or St. Francis of Assisi or St. John Bosco… we are called to tend to our coins–by being the best stewards that we can be we are as successful as God calls us to be.

The servant that was rejected was not rejected for not being as successful as the others but for not administering his charge in a manner that would be productive to the Lord Jesus.

Maran atha!

Angel

my take on this parable has nothing to do with money but faith…the two who had more and used thier faith to do good and spread the gospel and thier faith was increased…the one who put the talent in the ground did nothing with his faith,just hid it…at least he could have put it the the bank aka the Church…

graceandglory,
You have gotten some excellent replies so far. The only thing I would add it to recommend you listen to Fr. Robert Barron’s homily on this parable. I love Fr. Barron and he posts a homily on the Sunday readings every week on his website, Word on Fire.

The one thing my pastor had to add that has not already been touched on here was that one talent coin was worth the equivalent of about $5 million in today’s currency. The master said on the return of the second servant “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little.” A little? He’s talking about $10 million!! What does this show? Again, it’s not really about the money, but if $10 million is “a little” to God, just think of the abundant blessings we will receive if we follow His commands all our lives!! And in this parable, the command is to take a risk and share everything God has given us.

Hope this helps. :slight_smile:

Yes, the “Talents” are the Gifts that God gives us - the ability to teach, to preach, to help others, to bring out the best in others, etc.

What our priest said really hit home - *Notice the first two guys invested everything that the Master gave them. They didn’t hold anything back. *

It would be like someone gifted with the ability to teach and they only do it half-way.

thank you to those who have responded so far.

I don’t have any thoughts right now.

In the parable of the talents

to one he gave** five talents,** to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away

the definition of talent is a denomination of money. It’s like saying five ten dollar bills, two ten dollar bills

Is this what people understand the gospel to mean, or are most people interpreting it to mean “skills?”

thanks, cattitude,
I will listen to this.

talent = about 60 pounds of gold or silver

That was real money back then.

I am so glad to see this thread. I was just getting on to ask this very question. What wonderful responses.

It is humbling to reflect on my life…heck reflect on just the last few weeks using this gospel reading and the responses in this thread as a meter stick. I am not using my ‘talents’ in the good and faithful way I could be.

I have work to do.

Thanks

you hit the nail on the head

Okay, so I invest time into spreading the gospel. Let’s just say that I spend a tenth of my income and a tenth of my time on evangelization.

Where or What is the increase that Christ talked about in the parable?

20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying,** Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.'** 21 His master said to him,Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.’

I’m not sure i get what you are trying to say :confused:

I am thinking that the increase…is not so much of an increase but to go with what God gives us and try to make more of it…to use the talents he gave us to honor him. I might be wrong but that is what I get from it.

Does that make sense?

Re: talent as currency vs. talent as ability

Actually, the reason that in English we say that an ability is “a talent” is because this parable has almost always been interpreted as being an allegory for use of our abilities. The Bible gets under our skin and into our language, too.

Re: where’s your increase on your “investment” of time and talent?

Don’t ask me – ask God! We probably won’t know how much we’ve “earned” with our work until we stand before His face. But some of it is probably the winning of souls for God, helping others, letting God’s Providence work through us. Sometimes people may tell you that you’ve helped them, or you’ll see something tangible (like your kids doing visibly well). Sometimes you won’t see it.

The point of the parable is, that as long as you try, as long as you do something for the Lord with the things that He’s given to you, you will be serving God well. If you don’t try, nothing good can come of it – nothing bad, maybe, but nothing good, either – and you’ll have to answer to God for that. So it’s better to do something.

Your reward shall be heaven, wouldn’t it?

Just a comment,
talent is a unit of money measurement.
at Jesus’ time, a talent has 6000 denarii
one denari is equivalent to a day wages

if I am making $25.00 an hour
$25X8=$200

$200X6000=$1,200,000.

It is a lot of money :slight_smile:

To me, the third servant was called wicked because he did not even want to give back to the master anything, not even the interest from the bank. He does not have his master’s interest in his heart.

Tak

We covered this in class, too.

GraceAndGlory, what bible translation are you using? The one given to us RCIA students was the New Catholic Answer Bible which uses the NAB translation.

I suppose Wikipedia says it best: the parable is about “… diligence in carrying out one’s responsibilities is essential for more important tasks in the future.”

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