Christians know and believe that, in the fullness of time, God sent his Son among us. In his life and ministry, Jesus Christ fulfilled all the prophecies and promises of God contained in the Old Testament. In this action, he showed himself to be the fulfillment of all revelation.
And so, in Jesus Christ, humanity has received the entirety of all revelation. God the Father has spoken all that he wishes to say in and through his Son, the Word made flesh.
In giving us his revelation, the Lord Jesus has provided us with the full message of salvation. He has shown us the face of our Father and modeled for us the most excellent way of love. He has also called us to follow him, and to do what he has done.
In the Parable of the Talents from today’s Gospel Reading at Mass, which is the last parable we hear in this liturgical year, the Lord Jesus emphasizes this point. He speaks of three servants who each received talents according to their abilities. As the master went away, they were called to continue his work, to be industrious, and to be ready for his return.
Pope Francis has previously commented on this parable, saying: “This parable urges us not to conceal our faith and our belonging to Christ, not to bury the Word of the Gospel, but to let it circulate in our life, in our relationships, in concrete situations, as a strength which galvanizes, which purifies, which renews.”
And so, for the men and women who acknowledge and believe in the revelation of Jesus Christ, and accept the call to follow him, they see Jesus Christ as the Son of God, Messiah, and Lord. In accepting the call to follow, such disciples choose to truly follow him.
Such men and women are disciples. They are captivated by the Lord’s love and mercy, and they seek nothing other than to unconditionally reciprocate his love, faithfully follow him, and allow his grace to transform them, and make them fit for his heavenly kingdom. Within the realm of all public revelation, they also see the Lord Jesus as the personal fulfillment of all their own hopes and dreams in this life.
Such disciples aspire to live the prayer of the Prophet Samuel: “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening,” rather than regress and declare, “Listen up, Lord, your servant is speaking!”
As a part of that personal surrender, the disciple accepts the totality of the teachings of the Lord Jesus with the “obedience of faith.” The disciple asks for the grace to incorporate and integrate the full Gospel of Jesus Christ into their lives. They reject any form of idolatry of the heart, and eagerly work to generously share his message with all people.
The disciple of the Lord Jesus accepts the Gospel as the authentic and everlasting Word of God. They do not compromise any of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Such disciples further accept the mission given to them by Jesus Christ. They know that his saving mission is continuing in our world today. They realize and accept their summons to be a part of the work. And, as the Master is away, they labor diligently on his behalf and seek to be prepared when he returns. Such efforts are made in love, not fear or the desire for reward.
In the parable today, the first and second servants – who received five and two talents respectively – were industrious in their shared mission. The third servant, however, buried his one talent in the ground. He showed no trust or initiative.
As Pope Francis has written: “The hole dug into the soil by ‘the wicked and slothful servant’ points to the fear of risk which blocks creativity and the fruitfulness of love, because the fear of the risks of love stop us. Jesus does not ask us to store his grace in a safe! Jesus does not ask us for this, but He wants us to use it to benefit others. All the goods that we have received are to give to others.”
And so, as we hear this challenging parable this Sunday, what will we do with the talents that God has given to us – each according to our ability? Will we be industrious, or will we dig a hole?