Fr. Mike’s Homily for Saturday of the 21st week in Ordinary Time Cycle I
Theme: We are not created equal
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches
Homily for Saturday August 28 2021
Jesus told His disciples this parable: “It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ [Then] the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter; so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’
The parable in the Gospel today focuses on the third servant. His master severely chastised and condemned him for being a “wicked and lazy servant.” There are several important lessons that this parable is teaching us.
First, we do not own anything in this world. God is the owner of everything. We are just stewards of His creation. Whatever we have now in our hands are just entrusted to us by God so that we may take care and manage them according to His will and design. And at the end of our life, in the Final Judgment, we will have to give an accounting of our stewardship.
Second, we are expected to work so that the gifts entrusted to us will grow and benefit other people. This is clear in the mandate given by God to Adam in the Garden, even before the Fall: “The Lord God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it” (Gen 2:15). That is why man is called co-creator or procreator. We need to work and do something to develop and share these gifts with others. The third servant was not only bad; he was also lazy: he did not work. He just buried the money in the ground.
Third, in everything we do, our motivation should be to honor God and help others. The third servant was motivated by selfishness. He was entrusted with a big amount of money, but he buried it in the ground. He did this because he was afraid of what his master might do to him if something wrong happens with the money. He was just thinking of himself, and, as a result, the money did not benefit anybody. On the other hand, the two servants, in obedience to the master’s will, invested the money wisely and returned it with huge interest. We must always remember that the gifts that we have are not for our own selfish purposes. We have to use them always according to God’s will and design. Basically, they are to be used to help others and bring honor and glory to God.
Finally, this parable teaches us that we are not all created equal. We may disagree with this statement because we believe “All men are created equal.” But this equality is only in terms of dignity, rights and opportunities, and not in capacities. Each person has his own talents and capabilities, and this leads to diversity, which encourages complementariness and cooperation, further enhancing creation. In the parable, the master knows the capacities and limitations of each servant, hence, the unequal distribution of money. He distributed the talents “to each according to his ability.” Yet there is still equality, in the sense that the master based his reward on the amount of effort and hard work. The servant with five talents worked equally hard to produce five more talents as it does the servant with two talents to produce two more talents. That is why, finding out that the wicked and lazy servant did not work at all, the master took away the little money he had.
We thank God for His generosity and trust in each of us. Let us always learn to count our blessings, and generously share them with all those in need. May we all be living witnesses of God’s loving care and providence towards all of His children.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches