15 Nov 2020. Cycle A-2020. 33rd Sunday OT. Pv 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 + 1Thes 5:1-6 + Mt 25:14-30
THE “PARABLE OF THE TALENTS” (Mt 25:14-30) — 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 (Mt 25:29).
“The rich get richer? The poor get poorer?” I do not see the the parable was about that. It was not condoning the income inequality that the social justice warrior was fighting against.
I see the parable to be about the full investment of resources, time and talent in the struggle for maximum righteousness. Perfection is demanded to gain eternal happiness in heaven (cf. Mt 5:48).
The Investor of Talents entrusted varying talent to each kind of servant: more to the venturous who would take more risk, less to the contented who would take less risk, and least to the timid, who would take no risk at all. “To each according to his ability.” Perhaps, He invested a token trust to the timid to give him one more chance to deliver.
To be more productive, a servant needed to venture out of his comfort zone, to risk being more righteous than others, and to risk being more righteous today than yesterday. If righteousness is demanded, why does being more righteous have to be risky?
I equate the talent to the knowledge of the will of the Master. “Much will be required of the person entrusted with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more. That servant who knew the master’s will but did not make preparation nor act in accord with his will shall be beaten severely; and the servant who was ignorant of his master’s will but acted in a way deserving a severe beating shall be beaten only lightly” (Lk 12:48, 47).
It looks like this expectation is disproportionate and unjust. Perhaps, the venturous servant would have protested, ‘I would rather know nothing so that I would suffer less for doing nothing, rather than for knowing something yet failing to do something.’ He probably envied the timid who boasted, ‘What I do not know does not hurt.’ Not quite. Ignorance of the law is no excuse, and this does hurt much the ignorant.
Takers of risk face this reality: much reward if they succeed, or much punishment if they fail. Whichever they may get, they take risks because they are expected to do so, and do such because they are inclined to do so.
Similarly, much is expected from those entrusted with the knowledge of the will of the Master, that is, His call for righteousness. They could neither decline that knowledge nor desire ignorance of righteousness. If their investment in righteousness busts, they, unfortunately, suffer more than those who invested less. If their investment booms, however, great is their reward in heaven (cf. Lk 12:47-48).
Those who take less risk are not rewarded, if ever, as much as those who take more risk. While some coast to “righteous enough” attitude, contented with little reward, others lose to “self-righteous,” condemned with no reward. Weeds of wickedness would soon overgrow the losers who are too timid to strive, and would choke the little righteousness they got left. VSS
Picture credit: Top photo: Man jumping over the ledge, from Bing.com/images. Illustration of scale, from propertyventure4life.ltd.co.uk.