33rd Sun A
The Commentaries Summarised
As a Church we are in a web of wisdom that comes to us both from tradition and contemporary writers. This section offers a summary of some commentaries on the Gospel. Also below is a list of the books and articles that have been consulted in compiling this Sunday's "Pray As You Can" and which could be used for further reading.
This Sunday's Commentary
This parable of the talents is the third in a series leading up to the scene of the Last Judgement which will be read next Sunday. The purpose of these parables is to show the proper attitude we should have in the face of the coming Son of Man. As often happens in parables, it operates on at least two levels.
Firstly, it was directed at the religious authorities who had hedged the Torah, the Law of God around with so many rules, that it became a series of duties to be fulfilled instead of being a guide to a creative and adventurous life of faith. The Law which should have released people from their personal weaknesses to serve God had become minute rules to be executed exactly according to ‘tradition’. Instead of being used creatively, it had become a binding and deadening force.
Secondly, the parable is directed to every Christian. Each of the slaves had been given talents according to his ability. They were not given primarily for the Master to make more money but rather as an opportunity for the slaves to show their calibre - to share in the Master’s creative ability. The fear and laziness of the third salve was ultimately self-serving. To justify himself, he built up a negative image of the Master and then blamed the Master for his own failure.
‘Use it or lose it’ is clearly a principle here – whether it be the exercise of faith or hitting balls around the golf course. A basic principle of human existence is that we improve by actually doing – not by wishing, wanting or reading but by actually having a go in our real and practical world. The way we accept a gift of God is to work at making ourselves more proficient in its use and the way to glory in our giftedness is to use our gifts in the loving service of others.