Daily Readings Reflection for 8/28/10

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Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: Lectionary 430. I Cor.1:26-31. Psalm 33:12-13.18-19.20-21.
Matthew 25:14-30:

Matthew has at least twenty-three parables in his Gospel and most of them
are kingdom parables. Today we have the parable of the talents for our
spiritual reflection and prayer throughout the day.  Again as disciples of
Jesus we are eager to learn from these colorful stories. They help us in
our following of the Lord while at the same time they make us think.  Jesus
teases us with them and not all of them are easy to understand. Even the
exegetes give us several possible interpretations while telling us that a
parable is not an allegory–yet Matthew and the other writers do allegorize
one or the other of them.  They say each parable has a main point of
emphasis and it is up to us to discover that.  One professor insists that
each parable hits the person at where they are in their response to Jesus
and that is not a bad way of looking at them for then they make sense to
each one of us where we think we need to respond to Jesus on this
particular day with this parable read at the liturgy.  They are part of the
semitic manner of teaching that Jesus has inherited and he, though he may
be the greatest parable user and producer is also in company with others
during his time and our time with some gifted literary persons who have the
talent of knowing how to do a parable in modern times.

The theme of discipleship is usually behind each parable and it is not an
easy task to be a faithful disciple of Jesus.  Some have done it–Mary, his
mother; the Beloved Disciple, Mary Magalene, and then the score of many
saintly disciples– St. Francis, Clare, etc. Mother Teresa.  Among his own
twelve and then seventy-two we find there are many foibles, failures,
betrayals, and doubters among them.  They followed not Jesus but their
fears, their personal and selfish desires, and their moments of temptation.
They needed more help from Jesus than learning through his parables what
life is all about.  We may have an advantage over them in knowing more
about literary genres such as parables, psalms of different types, gospels,
etc.  We can learn from their mistakes what not to do and when they do what
Jesus asks of them we too can do those things.

The parable of the talents is found in Luke19:12-27 and may have some
dependence Mark 13:34 and even on the first parable in the first
Gospel–Mark 4:25.  Matthew is however the master of this parable!  “In its
present context it offers a life-style for the interim before the Son of
Man returns, urging us to a reponsible use of the master’s goods in view of
the judgment to come.Moralizing points can also be drawn from the
situation, as in 24:48-51.  We use the word talent to refer more to our
gifts and strengths as a person more than talent as let us say an amount of
money equivalent to a day’s wages.  Our gifts stem from our parents, our
brothers and sisters, our educators and mentors.  What do we do with what
we are given and how we use them are the thrust of the parable we now are
reading or hearing.  Do we use our gifts for others and are we willing to
spend the time to show them these gifts in a generous and non-condescending
way?  Or do we squirrel them away for ourselves and our self-adulation in
the corner of our room as we sit on an easy chair?  We may often fail in
using them for other peoples profit and bury them for our self love.  At
other times we may think we have no talent and that we have nothing to
offer.  Then we are like the disciples who fail Jesus and doubt his power
within us.  Or maybe we just coast through life whittling away precious
time with distractions and creature comforting.  We can make use of today’s
parable as a type of self-examination of our discipleship as we take a few
moments to reflect on the “returns of the day.”  Were we faithful disciples
this day? Did we use some of the gifts that we were unaware we had?As good
stewards of God’s gifts to us we are to be faitfhul, trustworthy, and
risk-taking.  Amen.

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