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Good and Faithful Servant
Memorial of St. Monica
“Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’
The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’ His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’ Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest. So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant that I may come to a true knowledge of you and recognize the gifts that you give me to develop and put at the service of others.
- Concept of God: Jesus’ parable of the gold talents offers us perspectives on different attitudes towards God and his gifts. Three men were offered gold, each one doing with it what he thought best. The one who had much invested it and brought back a return. The one who had just two did the same. But the man with one mere gold talent hid it out of fear in order to return it exactly as given. Perhaps, in the depths of each man’s heart lay a particular concept of God. The man with one gold talent saw the Lord as exacting, someone to be feared. He treated what had been received by God not as a gift, but as a burden to not be lost in case he be punished. By contrast, the others saw what was given as a gift. They willingly shared in the generosity of their master and invested it with trust in the giver. How do we perceive God and the gifts that he gives us?
- My Gold Talents: Like the men in today’s parable, we have been made stewards of many gifts by God’s graciousness. Here is a list of some talents of which we are stewards: creation, parents, spouse, children, friends, parish members, coworkers, material items acquired over time, work, time, money, space, health, physical and mental energy, education, knowledge, skills, human qualities, spiritual gifts, and even suffering. May we praise the Lord for each one and ask how he would like us to use them for his greater honor and glory.
- The Promise: Jesus stated, “For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance.” This mystery is understood only in the context of our relationship with God. He is magnanimous and desirous of our participation in his very life. He wants to shower upon us every good gift. But he cannot give where the door is closed to his giving. Fear limits his action and closes the door to participating in his bounty. When we put aside our fear–fear of change, fear of performing well, fear of what others will think–we open ourselves to collaborate with God and we receive all the gifts we need to be his disciples and friends.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for the tremendous gift of your friendship. All that you have is mine and all that I have is yours. Let me return it to you, having invested well the gifts you have given me.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on the gifts I have and how well I am a loving and grateful steward.
For Further Reflection: Stewardship is rooted in Scripture, recognizing we, as individuals, are not owners of our lives but rather are stewards or managers. Stewardship, quite simply, is recognizing that everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God and being grateful and generous with those gifts.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala and “Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.”