Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Saturday in the twenty-first week of the Ordinary Time1

Saturday of the 21 OT1

 

Readings: I Thes 4:9-11; Mt 25:14-30 (Mk 6:17-29).

1/ First Reading: RSV 1 Thessalonians 4:9 But concerning love of the brethren you have no need to have any one write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do love all the brethren throughout Macedonia. But we exhort you, brethren, to do so more and more, 11 to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you.

2/ Gospel: RSV Matthew 25:14 "For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; 15 to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. 16 He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. 17 So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more. 18 But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master's money. 19 Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. 20 And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, `Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.' 21 His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' 22 And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, `Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.' 23 His master said to him, `Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.' 24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, `Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.' 26 But his master answered him, `You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? 27 Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29 For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.'


I. THEME: Practicing charity shall dispel all hatred and build up communities.

            Our ancestors knew well the value of love in the familial and the communal life when they said, “When in love, an areca-nut which used to divide by seven shall be divided by three; but when in hatred, it shall be divided by ten.” Or, “When in love, a hundred of things can be done; a hundred of bad things can also be adjusted by the lover.” Jesus also knows well the importance of charity when he abbreviated the whole law in the two commandments, “to love God and to love others.” In the Gospel according to John, Jesus advised his apostles before his Passion and Death, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:34-35).

            Today readings highlight the importance of charity. In the first reading, St. Paul advised the Thessalonian faithful to love each other, to keep harmony in their community and to work for living and for building up their community. In the Gospel, after stated the importance of charity in Matthew 25:1-14, Jesus tells a parable with an intention to say that God shall judge people according to what He gave to them; therefore, everyone must use what God gives to them, such as: talents, time, health, opportunities to help others and to build up their family and community.

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “We exhort you, brethren, to do so more and more.”

            To understand today passage, we need to understand what happened for the Thessalonians at that time. Many of them believed the Last Day is imminent, so they quitted their job to wait for that day to come. St. Paul must write to advise them: their way isn’t the way to wait for Christ’s coming; the proper way which they must do is the followings:

            (1) They must love each other: St. Paul said to them, “Concerning love of the brethren you have no need to have any one write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do love all the brethren throughout Macedonia.” Charity must be the uniform of all Christians as Jesus teaches his disciples, “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Once deeply in love, the faithful can dispel all suspicion, discord and separation in their community.

            (2) They must advance more and more every day: The Gospel is preached not only by words but also the Christians’ life of witness. St. Paul encouraged the faithful to be advance more on their virtuous life so the Gospel could be extended in the whole region of Macedonia.

            (3) To prepare for the Last Day by fulfilling the duties of the faithful: People’s tendencies are to announce hot news and to exaggerate what shall be happened. Looking back at the event of the year of 2000, when people are going to the third millennium, many people thought the Last Day shall certainly happen, so they quitted their job; withdrew money from their banking accounts to enjoy their life to the fullest; and to spread all kinds of rumors about the Last Day. This kind of things was also happened for the Thessalonian faithful; therefore, St. Paul advised them, “We exhort you, brethren… to aspire to live quietly, to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we charged you.”

            The most effective way to prepare for the Last Day is to faithfully fulfill our daily duties and sincerely love each other, not to be fearful or to quit job or to rely on others for a living. One important thing we need to remind each other is the Last Day certainly shall come; at what time no one knows except God, as Jesus revealed to us.

 

2/ Gospel: Faithfully working to deserve the owner’s trust.

            To illustrate the importance of being faithful to one’s duty, Jesus cited a parable as follows, “For it will be as when a man going on a journey called his servants and entrusted to them his property; to one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away.” A talent is equivalent with five to six thousands of dennarii at Jesus’ time; and the daily wage of a worker is one dennarius. So, a talent is equivalent with about eighteen years of working, a big amount of money.

 

2.1/ The owner’s wisdom and trust:

            (1) His wisdom: Some people ask why the owner doesn’t equally distribute money to avoid jealousy among them. The reason is that the owner knows his servants; he distributes his money according to their ability. This shows his wisdom because he knows how to invest his money to have a profit. If one is lazy, it is useless to give them even one talent.

            (2) His trust: He trusted them all. This show in his act that when he finished distributing money, he went far away, not to live near them or to return often to check on them. They were completely free to use their talent to invest their owner’s money under any forms.

 

2.2/ The wise servants and their rewards: The owner’s special character is he didn’t say how much money the servants must bear profits for him; he let the servants decide it.

            (1) The good servants: “He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them; and he made five talents more. So also, he who had the two talents made two talents more.”

            (2) Their rewards: Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

                  - He who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, “Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.”

            - And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, “Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.” His master said to him, “Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much; enter into the joy of your master.”

2.3/ The lazy servant and his punishment:

            (1) His reaction: Not only he didn’t bear any profit for his owner, he also found a reason for his laziness by accusing him, “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.”

            (2) The master’s reaction: He answered him, “You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sowed, and gather where I have not winnowed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents… And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth.”

            The owner didn’t pay attention much on the profit because he didn’t state the percentage they must give him. He gave according to their ability and wished they bear profit according to their ability. What he aims here is their diligence to work. Through this sign, the servants show him whether they are deserved of his trust. He clearly said, “For to everyone who has more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away.”

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - St. Paul advised us many times about the importance of charity, “And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony” (Col 3:14). If we live according to this virtue, God shall reign in our family and community.

            - To love God is to bear profit for Him, by using the talent and time He gave us to help others and to make His kingdom come.

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