Jesus told a parable about a nobleman who went off to a distant country, coming back as king; and he based the story on Jewish history; specifically on the story of Herod who went off seeking favor with the Romans, and came back with his having been appointed the king of the Jews.
Jesus, in basing a parable on that story, was telling us that we are to imagine ourselves to be that nobleman’s servants. The gold coins he has entrusted to you and to me stand for all the advantages given to each of us. These advantages would include good parents, good health, good minds. Each of us is meant to work with our gifts to make as much as we can of ourselves.
Twenty years ago the bishops of America (who are meeting in Washington this week) told each American diocese to conduct a thorough examination of its Catholic schools. Our diocese appointed a committee of us to report on what we were doing with advertising, charging, devising curricula. As well we were meant to clarify what we hoped to accomplish. I was put on investigating that last one.
I saw that Rome has one congregation devoted to educational matters, and in checking with them I found a paper written in 1988 by the prefect of the congregation, Cardinal William Baum. He wrote that our purpose as educators was to assist each student in developing his or her personality to the fullest.
Each of us, formed individually in the image of God, come into the world with the need to develop that likeness more and more clearly. Each of us can turn his or her gold coin into ten by following the U.S. Army’s command that we should “be all that we can be.”