God-Given Responsibilities

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The WORD in other words (2023) by Fr Dennis Testado SVD – Catholic Trade Manila

33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time – A

Any business enterprise is profit-oriented. It wants a return of investment, even much more than what it puts in: Dapat may kitadapat may tubo (there should always be a gain).

Today’s Gospel can be viewed through a lens of profit and return on investment. This lens can mean two things. One is a condition set by the word IF – if we have enough money. Another is something that we truly have. As recounted, the servants were entrusted with certain resources to which (other commentaries claim) they were expected to invest and use wisely for a greater yield.

If we have enough money, growing it over time is an important part of managing our household finances. The same is true in our respective organizations (e.g., Church and youth organizations). Growing the money would keep our households’ or organizations’ activities sustainable. This implies that burying the money that we have is bad.

We might not literally bury it in our backyard. We have varied ways of “burying.” For example, in the province, if a family gets a good harvest from the rice field and then sells it, amounting to at least 50K pesos, you would not expect them to put the money in the bank to earn interest. They instead “bury” or hide it under the bed. The money could have been invested to make it grow.

 We have our material or spiritual gifts. We have our capabilities of loving, serving, and sharing in varying measures. We have our life. These are the talents Jesus is referring to in the parable. They are God’s gifts that help us grow in Christian responsibility and spirituality. All these things are given to us not to bury nor hide but to use them for a purpose. As Rick Warren puts it: “If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life.”

Living one’s life with a purpose implies responsibility. Interestingly, the parable speaks of rewards in terms of greater responsibility. The first two servants who grew their talents were given more responsibilities. This responsibility was seemingly what the third servant avoided, implying that he opted for a purposeless life. Are we the first two servants, or do we find ourselves in the disposition of the third servant? 

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