Year A 33rd Sunday: Matthew 25:14-30

25:14 'It is like a man about to go abroad
who summoned his servants and entrusted his property to them.
25:15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to a third one,
each in proportion to his ability. Then he set out on his journey.
25:16 The man who had received the five talents
promptly went and traded with them and made five more.
25:17 The man who had received two made two more in the same way.
25:18 But the man who had received one
went off and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
25:19 Now a long time afterwards, the master of those servants came back
and went through his accounts with them.
25:20 The man who had received the five talents
came forward bringing five more. "Sir," he said,
"you entrusted me with five talents; here are five more that I have made."
25:21 His master said to him, "Well done, good and trustworthy servant;  
you have shown you are trustworthy in small things;
I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness."
25:22 Next the man with the two talents came forward. "Sir," he said,
"you entrusted me with two talents; here are two more that I have made."
25:23 His master said to him, "Well done, good and trustworthy servant;
you have shown you are trustworthy in small things;
I will trust you with greater; come and join in your master's happiness."
25:24 Last came forward the man who had the single talent. "Sir," said he,
"I had heard you were a hard man,
reaping where you had not sown and gathering where you had not scattered;
25:25 so I was afraid, and I went off and hid your talent in the ground.
Here it is; it was yours, you have it back."
25:26 But his master answered him, "You wicked and lazy servant!
So you knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered?
25:27 Well then, you should have deposited my money with the bankers,
and on my return I would have got my money back with interest.
25:28 So now, take the talent from him and give it to the man who has the ten talents.
25:29 For to everyone who has will be given more, and he will have more than enough;
but anyone who has not, will be deprived even of what he has.
25:30 As for this good-for-nothing servant, throw him into the darkness outside,
where there will be weeping and grinding of teeth."


In the chapters 24-25 which precede the Passion story Matthew brings together the parables about the end of times and the Last Judgment.


A talent was money: almost thirty-five kilograms of silver. In our time the price of 1 kg of silver is about 250 pound. So the first servant receives an amount of almost 44,000 pounds; the second one 18,000 and the third one 9,000 pounds. The money is an image of love. For that is the ‘only’ thing God has to give. The money/love is meant to be invested. To put it out to other persons hoping that it will be multiplied.

Now we understand why the owner of the money is so angry at the last servant. He didn’t do anything with the love which was entrusted to him. His love was dead: he ‘buried’ it. Not surprisingly, the talent is given to the one who did the most with ‘his’ love.

With the owner of the money, God is meant. He is abroad. That is our experience. God seems to be absent in our world. But he is present in the love of (his) people...

Picture Meditation

In the upper left corner the money owner is giving money to his servants: a pink one, an orange one and a blue one.  With his left hand he points at the world where the ‘money’ has to be invested. Far away, on the horizon, we see two of the three servants on the road indeed. We find the third one in the opposite lower right corner, burying his money. Meaningful detail: it is night.

The most important part of the painting is taken up by the end of the story. In the centre we see the money owner, clothed in red, the colour in which Jesus was always clothed. On his left: the pink servant of the five talents. That servant did very well: he made people happy as we can see in the background. The same can be said of the orange servant with the two talents behind the money owner. Or do these happy people represent the ‘master’s happiness’ to which these two servants are invited?

But the third servant, in blue, is kneeling very humbly before the money owner with the one talent in his left hand. With his right hand he points at the place where had buried his talent. The owner is angry; his left hand indicates what has to be done with that talent: it has to be given to the one who made so many people happy.

In the lower left corner we see the blue servant again creeping into the dark: there where he chose to be when he buried his talent.

Looking at the picture (and listening to the parable) did I ever realise that my love was/is a gift of God; that my love was/is his presence in our world? I look at the master at his desk in the upper left corner: was there ever a moment in my life that I received love and that I took it as a vocation, a program for my way of life?

Were there moments when I could be compared with the good servants?
The same question goes for the third one.

And the other way around? Did I meet sometimes people who invested their talents of love in me? Or people who didn’t; who seemed to have buried their talent of love?

Finally I have a talk with each of the three servants; with the happy people in the bubble of the pink and orange servant; with the blue one and at the end with the money owner who ‘only’ has love to give.

Meditation by Fr Dries van den Akker S.J