Homily for the Thirty-third Sunday, year A. (updated)

A week ago, Jesus described the kingdom of God using the parable of the ten bridesmaids. Today, Jesus is still describing the kingdom of God but using another parable; the parable of the talents. In this parable, a man who was going on a journey entrusted his property to his servants; to one he gave talents (money), to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability.

Even though the master gave his servants different amounts according to their abilities, but still, expected the same and equal things from them; knowledge of him and responsibility.

Note that the master gave them the money without any instruction; without telling them what to do with the money. Whatever they choose to do with the money would depend on their knowledge of the master. The knowledge of our master matters, even Jesus said he knows who the Father is.

There was a time Jesus healed a man who had been ill for thirty-eight years, it was on a Sabbath, a day no work was allowed. The Jews started persecuting Jesus for working miracles on the Sabbath; but Jesus said, my father goes on working, so do I (John 5:17). In other words, I know my father, I know what he does.

The master in the parable of the talents expected the servants to know what he does and follow his steps. The first two servants knew their master and understood what he expected of them, they followed his footsteps, invested the money he gave them, and doubled the amount. And when their master returned, he praised them; “Well done, good and trustworthy servants; you have been trustworthy in a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” But the third servant buried his one talent and eventually returned it to his master saying; “Master I knew you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed.” And his master referred to him as a wicked and lazy servant.

The success of the first two servants and the failure of the third servant started with their knowledge of their master. So it is with us; our spirituality, spiritual growth, and maturity depend on our knowledge of who God is.

For some people, God is the Supreme Being who is up there, a distant deity who is not involved in the world he created. But that is not who God is, he is an intimately involved Creator who fashioned each one of us in His image and likeness and blessed us with gifts and talents according to our capacities. Apostle John boldly declares, “God is love” (1 John 4:8), and The psalmist reminds us that “The Lord is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love” (Psalm 145:8). To see God otherwise, to see him as a distant deity who is not involved in the world he created is to act like the third servant who saw his master as a harsh man who reaps where he did not sow, and so buried his talent. Because of the third servant’s lack of understanding of the master, there was no good relationship between them.

Because God is loving, gracious, and merciful, he expects us to act like him just as the master in the parable of the talents expected his servants to act like him.

He said, for those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. That means it is in acting like our master Jesus that we grow in virtue and faith. Failure to act like him is to bury our talent, and even the one we have will die.

Let us therefore today renew our knowledge of God and continue to ask for the grace to act like him

Joel Okojie is an ordained Catholic Priest in the Order of St. Augustine. He has been a Priest for over a decade. He served as a pastor in two different parishes, he was a one-time Novice Master and a member of the Provincial Council of the province of St. Augustine of Nigeria, and he is currently on a mission in response to the needs of the Church in Canada.

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