The first readings yesterday and today were thrilling stories taken from the Second Book of the Maccabees, but they lose much of their appeal when we learn that rather than their being historical accounts, they come from a collection of pious Jewish fiction tales.
Our Lord’s story in the Gospel is based on fact. In around the year 50 b.c., a young Herod, leaving his belongings with friends, fled to Rome for protection from rivals who were seeking his life. All went so well for him in Rome, that in 40 b.c. with Rome’s backing he came back as king of the Jews. He proceeded to reward those who had stayed true to him, while punishing those who had not.
Of course, Jesus addressed his parable to each of us to whom he has entrusted an equivalent of a precious gold coin. Your gold coin was your fine family, your health and abilities. You will be seriously quizzed on what you have done with your gold coin.
There is a 63 year old man named Perry who had breakfast with us one day a week. But, yesterday he phoned to say that he can’t again leave his room and his oxygen. He said, “My lungs are all gone.” Now, he is left checking over what he has done with his gold coin, as you and I will be doing soon.