Commentary on the Gospel of

Larry Gillick, S.J.- Creighton University's Deglman Center for Ignatian Spirituality


Vestment, vestige, vest, divest, vestibule, and invest, all are derived from the Latin word for “clothes.” An investment is somehow placing something important, precious, in the clothing of something or someone else. We have the expression, “If you were in his/her shoes... ." We also have the statement that clothes make the man.

Next Sunday is both the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, and the Solemnity of Christ the King. These past Sundays in Ordinary Time have presented the Gospel of Matthew and his way of presenting Jesus as Teacher, the New Law Giver and Jesus as the final revelation of the God of the Covenant. Jesus has lived in His human clothes, invested Himself in our flesh making that flesh important and precious. In two weeks, we will begin praying with the reflections of Advent, preparing to celebrate God’s fleshly investment.

The First Reading for today’s Eucharistic liturgy is a proverbial picture of a wonderful woman and wife who is celebrated for all the wonderful things she does for her husband and family. The Reading is often presented as the First Reading at the funeral of wonderful women of faith and family. I offer my problem with this picture however celebratory it may be.

Do clothes really make the “man”? All the wifely and motherly activities of this woman are rooted within a deep sense of who she is. Her value is not what she does, but who she is. We pray with her being loved by God, parents, siblings, friends and her husband, all which create her.  She then does what she is inside and she allows it out in public.

G. M. Hopkins, S.J. in his poem, "As Kingfishers Catch Fire," notes that each mortal thing does what it is, “Deals out that being indoors, each one dwells, selves, myself it speaks and spells.” A bell can ring only its one note. He then says, “more,” humans can “Keep grace that keeps all their goings graces.” What an ordaining thought, all our goings are to be graces, because of the graces within.

Today’s Gospel is quite clear as Matthew draws near to his presentation of Jesus. God is making an investment in each human person with specific and personal gifts. These are not merely tallents of physical abilities, but more interior, soul-bound. and meant to be accepted as precious and not to be compared with anyone else. One person receives five, one three and the third, one. The master made an investment to increase his number of gifts with great interest. Two traded well, did something profitable with what they had received. The fearful person figured out that he/she had been given less and thought better of trading and so buried it in the ground.

Now was the master so self-interested that he became angry when he got back the one talent he had given first. Was the third person wise, because of fear of being punished for losing it? Was the master known to be harsh, selfish and punishing? The parable does not reflect exactly everything. It has one strong message and minor aspects can distract from appreciating what Jesus is offering.  It moves to form our interiors as is the woman formed interiorly and so lives who she knows and receives herself to be. We do not put Jesus on as we put on shirts and pants. Jesus invests Himself in us and we then give Him exterior expression in all we do. We keep His grace which keeps all our goings graces. He has buried Himself in us that we might continually give Him flesh. God is ever in-fleshing with divine love, as an eternal dressing of humanity.

As Hopkins ends his poem, we act in God’s eye, what in God’s eye we are.                                                   

“For Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs and lovely in eyes, not His, to the Father through the features of men’s faces.”


write comment
Please enter the letters as they are shown in the image above.