A “talent” had a monetary worth of about $1,000.00. Not a coincidence that the term also has to do with ability. Two servants invested the talents wisely, while one servant was fearful.
The fearful servant did not trust his Master; he did not trust the people around him; he did not trust himself. So he dug a hole and buried his Master’s money. Sound familiar? Remember “Treasure Island”? When pirates found a treasure they dug a hole in the ground and buried it. They would try to kill each other in order to keep the entire treasure. Sure made for an exciting story. We are all attracted to treasure. That’s why most people go to Las Vegas—to hit the jackpot. Can’t win unless we are willing to take a risk, even if only $1.00 for a lottery ticket. Life is about taking risks. People who do take risks usually have a false sense of security and find life boring. Sticking to our routines, associating with the same friends, never going to new places is like burying our talent in a hole—just like the servant who was afraid. Nothing wrong with every day routines, as long as we are not being held back by fear. God has given us so many gifts. We have shelter, food, water. We live in a Country where freedoms are respected. A few crazies are the ones who make the news spread paranoia. Evil will always be present, especially when we are trying to do what God wants. Fear is one of the devil’s weapons. He plants the seeds of mistrust in order to keep us from using our talents. If we take a few moments to pray for strength to not be afraid, evil goes away.
The whole world looks differently when we are not afraid. Why don’t young people want to get married? Why are fewer men and women preparing for the priesthood and religious life? In many instances fear is holding them back. Making a life-long commitment can be scary, especially when there are no guarantees. Or when folks have seen how a life-long commitment did not work for their own parents. Infidelity plagues our society. At the root of infidelity is fear—fear to make a change. Addictions are more attractive then conversions. God is constantly calling us to a newness—to change.
None of us have been cheated. The Lord has given each of us what we need to be happy; to use our talents; and to not be afraid. “Use it or loose it.”—an old axiom that has withstood the test of time. The fearful servant in the story lost what he had because he failed to put the talent to work. The Master was furious and threw him out into the darkness. Did the Master punish him? Or did the servant punish himself? We reap what we sow. We cannot expect outstanding results when all we do is sit around all day and mope about how bad things are. The same applies to our relationship with God. He doesn’t want us coming around only when we need something. God has given us the capacity to converse with Him all the time. We have a direct connection—without Wi-Fi interruptions. Not coming to Church, not partaking of the Sacraments, neglecting to pray every day is like burying our talent in a hole. On the other hand, the closer we get to our Faith, the more we want—our desire grows—like dividends. When the Master sees us using what He has provided, He gives us more, greater responsibilities. Investment starts with our self, with our family, with the people we love.
We come to give thanks for the countless blessings we have received. They should never be ignored, but put to good use to build the Kingdom. One day we hope to hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant, come, share in your Master’s joy.”