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  • Bill Miller

Scripture Reflection, November 19, 2023, 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time

Proverbs 31:10-13, 19-20, 30-31 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6 Matthew 25:14-30

My high school choral teacher, Sr. Paul, often said, "I'd rather wear out than rust out.” As a teenager, I did not fully grasp her wisdom. Now that I am older than she was at the time, I think I understand.

The worthy wife in today's first reading must have believed the same thing. What with her spinning and knitting and caring for the poor she was in no danger of rusting out!

Which brings me to today's gospel. A master had three servants. He gave each of them a different amount of his money to take care of while he was away on a journey. In the scripture the word “talent” is used. Scripture scholars tell us that in Jesus’ day a talent was equivalent to about one million dollars today!

Upon his return from the journey the master questioned his servants about what they had done with what he had given them. Two of the servants put their talents to good use while the third fellow allowed his talent to languish and produce nothing. The response the master makes at accounting time gives us a clear picture of his expectation.

Today we use the word talent to mean skill or expertise or giftedness. Like the servants in the story, we have been given talents by God. And like the servants we don't all get the same amount nor do we all handle what we have been given in the same way. Those talents are supposed to be used and not merely for ourselves but for the kingdom of God. Remember the servants were not building personal wealth but working on behalf of their master.

I think Sr. Paul was right. We are supposed to wear out, not rust out by burying our talents and allowing them to go unused.

It might be helpful to pray about your own talents this week. What are the gifts, the skills and opportunities you have been given for building the kingdom of God? How are you using them?

by: Pat Schnee

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