The Gospel passage for this Sunday weekend recalls the famous Parable of the Talents, as told by the Evangelist, Matthew (25: 14-30). The “talent” mentioned in the story was actually a unit of valuable Roman currency. If you owned one, you would be very well off. If you had a few, you were set for life.
When we first hear this story, we naturally assume it has to do with money. This is understandable, because, as we live now, our finances or lack of them, are very much part of our lives, our stability and security. Unlike most of those who heard this parable for the first time when Christ told it, most of us have come to depend more and more on our own personal financial resources, rather than the support of our extended family. I would often (half-jokingly) suggest to newlyweds that they be open to having many children, if only for the reason that they are a good investment in the future. If ever social security, retirement benefits or pension plans go south, our children should be always ready to step in.
Of course the parable, as Christ preached it, is most definitely not about money. It has much more to do with weight. The heavier the Roman talent, the greater it’s worth. What comes to mind is the expression we might use describing someone as “worth their height in gold”.
Back to Christ’s parable of the talent. Each one of us has been carefully molded and shaped by God, unique in our individuality, our particular gifts and talents. Regardless if you are spiritually (even physically) a featherweight, lightweight, middle or heavyweight, each one of us belongs to a particular class at certain times. God entrusts to each of us particular weights of gold. He knows what we can handle, what we can lift, what we can do with the talents He gives us. He gives us all the necessary opportunities and strength to master our talents, to invest in them so that when we stand before Him on that final day, both God and I will delight together in the great gains we have made.
But this is not some sort of selfish investment in our own potential and abilities. The weight of glory does not belong to us. It belongs to God. Our talents never really belonged to us from the beginning. God invested them in us to see them bear fruit.
It is therefore a tragedy when, as Christ notes in His parable, someone buries their talent, hides it from everyone, sometimes out of fear, sometimes out of jealousy or even because we don’t know what to do with it. That is why we need good friends, good mentors, teachers and pastors to help us rediscover the hidden strength that lies within and untapped.
God shared with the Blessed virgin His own weight of glory- His Son. She did not keep Him for herself or hide Him from the world, but instead courageously, with faith and love, offered Him to the whole world. Our Heavenly Father as likewise shared His Son with us, through the sacraments. We dare not keep Him buried in our thoughts and empty gestures, but with gratitude and thanksgiving, allow Him to work through us unleashing His power to save through the gifts that are at work through us.