... in talents

Published on 16 Nov 2020
A jar with coins in

My parish priest was (temporarily) out of favour when I settled down to listen to his sermon on the parable of the talents.  He preached well, as always, stressing the importance of personal responsibility overcoming adverse environmental factors.  In my contrary mood I remembered a different interpretation of this parable, made by an eminent theologian. 

He pointed out that money does not grow of itself, as graphically demonstrated by the servant who buried the talent. The other two servants made a profit for their master, but one man’s gain is always somebody else’s loss. The servant who refused to exploit others for his unscrupulous master had the courage to risk, and get, severe punishment while the other two laughed all the way to the bank. This interpretation is relevant in a community that relies heavily on profits from financial services.

I feel that in recognising that both interpretations are equally valid and pastorally important I touched the mystery of God.