Our Gospel today is the second of the three parables in Chapter Twenty-Five of Matthews Gospel; with all three of them dealing with what we must accomplish in order to be successes in life. The first parable that we read yesterday told about the five foolish virgins who lacked oil, and the five wise virgins who had their oil supply when the groom arrived for the wedding. Having oil when the groom comes stands for our being in the state of grace when God calls you.
The third parable in Matthew’s Gospel deals with our duty to attend to the needs of God’s poor.
Today’s Gospel, the second of the three parables tells the story of a king going off to a far country after dividing his gold talents between his servants. On his return he praised the two servants who had doubled the talents that he gave them; but he condemned the servant who made no worthwhile use of the talent entrusted to him. Webster’s Dictionary tells us that our word talent, that we use for a gift for acting, writing, or painting, actually comes from this parable.
However, we should not limit the application of Our Lord’s lesson to the need for developing artistic talents. His parable means that we must make good use of all the gifts he has given us. In watching News broadcasts do you ever think about how much more blessed we are than people starving to death in refugee camps? Well, our comfortable lives are talents God gave us to work with. From those to whom much has been given much more will be expected.
Vatican II’s decree on Christian education envisions every child as having a potential for developing his or her unique personality. When teachers, grandparents, or parents give wise help toward children achieving a full personality development they are doing what Our Lord asks of them in this parable of the talents.