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A Servant’s Heart
Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’ His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king.’ But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ He replied, ‘Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came and reported, ‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’ And to this servant too he said, ‘You, take charge of five cities.’ Then the other servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.’ He said to him, ‘With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’ And to those standing by he said, ‘Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.’ But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’ He replied, ‘I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’” After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem.
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, help me to value the talents you have blessed me with and generously use them for the glory of your name!
- He Gave Them Coins: “He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’” Our Lord entrusts to all of us the building up of his kingdom! By virtue of our baptism we have become heirs of the kingdom with Christ. He doesn’t hold back anything that we need for this task. Jesus wants nothing more than to share what he has received with us so that, by his grace, we can do even greater works than he did. If we could only capture what an honor it is to be invested with such responsibility! Jesus wants us to join our efforts in communion with his brothers and sisters. Do I have zeal to use my talents to “do the works of God” that he calls me to? Am I willing to work alongside others in this effort?
- No King for Us: Despite Jesus’s complete trust in us, we often rebel, and sometimes show outright disdain, for the talents we have been given. Our fallen tendency is to want to do it our way and not have to depend on God or anyone else. Yet, this attitude always leads us to disappointment, frustration, and loneliness. Jesus tells us: “Apart from me you can do nothing!” When I engage in work–at home, at the office, or in ministry–am I aware that Jesus has rights over me, that I am using talents “on loan” from the Father? How seriously do I take his command to go and bear fruit?
- Well Done, Good Servant!: “You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.” The Lord is never outdone in generosity! If we could only grasp the depth of love and trust Jesus willingly puts in each of us, we would fall on our faces in worship and tell him without reserve to ask anything he wishes of us. No matter what the Lord entrusts to us, little or big, he is willing to entrust us with even more if we are willing to love and serve him fully. After all, he created us and knows what is best. We can put ourselves completely in his hands without hesitation. Do our hearts reflect a servant’s gratitude toward his good and trustworthy Master?
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, my lord and king, I recognize you as lord of my life and King of the Universe. I so often struggle with a rebellious spirit that shouts out “non servium!” (I will not serve!), but I don’t want to give in to this temptation. I want to serve you in communion with others, with generosity and fidelity. Make my heart like yours and bear fruit for the kingdom with the gift of my life!
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will generously and faithfully seek to accomplish well the small duties of the day.
Further Reflection: Into Your Hands, Father: Abandoning Ourselves to the God Who Loves Us by Wilfrid Stinissen (Ignatius Press) in Chapter 1, “Accepting God’s Will,” offers deep but clear guidance on embracing God’s will in our lives.
Father Todd Arsenault, LC, was ordained in 2005 and served for fourteen years in Ontario, Canada, as a spiritual director and retreat master. He recently moved to Rome to begin a two-year licentiate in Spiritual Theology.