Commentary on the Gospel of
In the first reading Paul tells the community in Corinth:
God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something, (vv 26 – 28).
In the gospel passage we see that in Jesus’ parable the foolish, weak and lowly servant gets punished for not thinking like the smarter and stronger servants.
The parable in today’s gospel reading is the one we call the parable of the talents. In Mathew’s gospel it is one in a series of parables about the last judgement. It’s preceded by the parable about the wise and reckless virgins and it’s followed by the parable about the sheep and the goats.
If we read the parable of the talents carefully, we will see that Jesus, as he narrates it, tells his audience that the master entrusted his possessions to his servants according to their ability: one servant got 5 talents, another 2 and another just 1. The first two servants doubled their talents whereas the third one just buried his and did not do anything with it. The first two servants are recompensed with a share in the masters’ wealth and praised by their master, but the third one was called “lazy” and was thrown out. Now, where is the love and understanding for the weak and the foolish that Paul talks about in his 1st letter to the Corinthians in this parable?
In reflecting about this question myself, I realized that Paul’s message is about not thinking too much of ourselves, but trusting in the one who called us, Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord (v. 31).The message is one of trust, not one of fear and resignation. The third servant failed to trust that his master gave him one talent because he saw the potential in him. The third servant just looked at himself as lowly and foolish and out of fear of failure he buried the talent.
I invite us today to reflect on our own tendency to look for strength and wisdom within ourselves instead of trusting in God who pledges to be our strength and wisdom, and how this paralyzes us.