Homily for the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
For the past few years, 2 of my sisters and a niece go on a weekend Christmas Shopping trip. The trip is usually to Bangor or further down to the box stores and they shop for two days… only stopping to eat and sleep. Ugh! Doesn’t that sound awful!
This year, because of the pandemic, they went to Halifax last weekend. Excited to go, planning, phoning, taking the biggest car and only one over night bag… they don’t want to take up any precious room that could hold a gift for someone. Always having a great time when they are there… they are always exhausted when they come home. Regardless, they are prepared…at least for Christmas.
Today Jesus offers another parable about being prepared for the day when we will meet him at the end of our lives. In today’s story, servants are given different amount of talents to care for their master as he is away on a long journey. A “talent” in Greek is “Talanta” a unit of money weights about 70 lbs of silver… roughly $2 million dollars … for most, more than a lifetime of wages…a lot of $$ !
On the master’s return, the servants who used their talents to earn more are rewarded, while the servant who buried his talent in the ground is reprimanded
In looking at this parable, our first question should be, ‘what does a talent stand for in the life of faith?’ ‘What have we been given by God that we are to steward wisely?’ We could answer in many ways, for the gifts of God in our life-time are numerous-including health, our time, our abilities, and what we own.
One thing the parable seems to make clear is that we are not to guard these treasures jealously by burying them in the ground. Instead, they are to be invested, shared and used.
It is interesting that the servant who buries his talent gives “fear” as the reason. It seems that he is so concerned about losing what he has been given that burying it is the only safe option. And in those days, that was a common thing to do, especially if it was a lot of money. However, the master does not buy this excuse, instead calling the person, ‘wicked and lazy servant’. My sisters and niece who shop for those days, spend time uncovering treasures, getting the right gift, for the right person…giving of their time, energy and money while at the same time boosting the local economy. Now they are ready for Christmas.
What if we were that dedicated, determined and excited in sharing our gifts with our faith community: offering encouraging word to another? Or phone call to a neighbour? Or just spending some time with God in prayer.
As we continue to strive to live lives of discipleship, today’s parable asks us to look seriously inward, at our hearts. And then to ask ourselves, “Which gifts of God have we ‘buried’ out of fear or laziness?” There is still time, however, to dig up these gifts and start using them to build up the Kingdom of God in the here and now.