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Gospel for Sunday, November 19: Matthew 25:14-30


14For it was like a man who, setting out on a journey, called his servants and handed over his goods to them. 15To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, according to the ability of each; then he departed. Immediately 16he who had received five talents went and employed them, and he gained another five talents. 17So also he who had received two, gained two more. 18He, on the other hand, who had received only one talent, went and made a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money there. 19After a long time the master of those servants returned and wanted to settle accounts with them. 20The one who had received five talents showed up and brought another five talents, saying, “Lord, you delivered me five talents; behold, I have gained another five talents.” 21“Well, good and faithful servant,” his master said to him, “you have been faithful in the little, I will give you power over much; share in your master’s joy. 22Then he who had received two talents presented himself and said, “Lord, you delivered me two talents; behold, I have gained two more.” 23“Well, good and faithful servant,” his master said to him, “you have been faithful in the little, I will give you power over much; share in your master’s joy. 24He also finally appeared who had received only one talent and said, “Lord, I know that you are a hard man, reaping where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered. 25I was afraid and went and hid your talent under the ground: this is what is yours.” 26The master answered him, “Wicked and slothful servant, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and reap where I did not scatter; 27you should have entrusted my money to the bankers, and so, returning, I would have withdrawn mine with interest. 28Take away therefore the talent, and give it to him who has the ten talents. 29For to everyone who has, it will be given, and he will be in abundance; but to the one who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30And the worthless servant cast him out into darkness; there he will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

Mt 25:14-30

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather ( Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.

A dangerous parable

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“The parable of the talents proposed by today’s liturgy is a parable that, in my poor opinion, is dangerous today: dangerous, because several times I have heard it commented on in a way that, instead of pushing Christians to conversion, seems to confirm them in their current behavior among other men and women, in the world and in the church. So perhaps it would be better not to read this text than to read it wrongly….

In truth, this parable is not an exaltation, an applause for efficiency, it is not an apologia for those who can earn profits, it is not a hymn to meritocracy, but it is a real rebuttal to the Christian who is often lukewarm, without initiative, content with what he does and operates, fearful of the change demanded by new challenges or the changed cultural conditions of society. Nor does the parable confirm the “pastoral activism” to which many Christian communities fall prey…, but it calls for awareness, responsibility, industriousness, boldness and above all creativity from the Christian community. Not the quantity of doing, of works, nor the gaining of proselytes make a community Christian, but its obedience to the word of the Lord that pushes it toward new frontiers, toward new shores, on roads not traveled” (E. Bianchi).

God has confidence in all of us

The talent weighed about 34 kilograms, and it could have been silver or gold: at today’s quotations, counting silver at about 630 euros per kilo and gold at 57,000 euros per kilo, the master gives one from 107,900 to 9,690,000 euros, another from 42,840 to 3,876,000 euros, and the third from 21,420 to 1,938,000 euros: in each case, quite a difference.

God treats us all differently: then is it unjust? Pope Francis explains it this way, “God does not give everyone the same things and in the same way: he knows us personally and entrusts us with what is right for us; but in everyone, there is something equal: the same, immense trust. God trusts us, God has hope in us! And this is the same for everyone. Let us not fail Him! Let us not be deceived by fear, but let us return trust with confidence!”

What image do we have of God?

But the parable is not about whether God gives each person different gifts, but about what image we have of God. The first two servants accept the gift and joyfully work to make it bear fruit, heedless of whether they will succeed or not: they are happy to cooperate with the Lord, of whom they have a beautiful, serene image. Their Lord will accept and welcome them even if they make mistakes, errors in judgment. The third servant, on the other hand, hides his talent because he has before him the image of a “hard” God (Mt 25:24), of whom to be “afraid” (Mt 25:25). A God who frightens: this is the ever-present temptation for man, ever since Adam, who when faced with the Lord, “was afraid and went and hid himself” (Gen. 3:10).

Pope Francis reminds us, “To go forward and grow in the journey of life, we must have not fear: we must trust. We must not think that He is an evil, harsh and severe master who wants to punish us. If there is this wrong image of God within us, then our life cannot be fruitful, because we will live in fear and this will not lead us to anything constructive, on the contrary: fear paralyzes us, it self-destructs.”

The joy of growing the heritage

Pope Francis continued, “The man in the parable represents Jesus, the servants are us and the talents are the patrimony that the Lord entrusts to us. What is the patrimony? His Word, the Eucharist, faith in the heavenly Father, His forgiveness … in short, so many things, His most precious possessions. This is the heritage that He entrusts to us. Not only to be guarded, but to be grown! While in common usage the term “talent” denotes a distinct individual quality — e.g. talent in music, sports, etc. — in the parable the talents represent the Lord’s possessions, which He entrusts to us for us to make fruitful. The hole dug in the ground by the “wicked and slothful servant” (v. 26) indicates the fear of risk that blocks the creativity and fruitfulness of love. For fear of the risks of love blocks us. Jesus does not ask us to keep his grace safe! That is not what Jesus asks of us, but he wants us to use it for the benefit of others. All the goods we have received are to give to others, and so they grow. It is as if he is saying to us, “Here is my mercy, my tenderness, my forgiveness: take them and make wide use of them.” And what have we done with them? Who have we “infected” with our faith? How many people have we encouraged with our hope? How much love have we shared with our neighbor? These are questions it will be good for us to ask ourselves. Any environment, even the most distant and impractical, can become a place where talents can bear fruit. There are no situations or places precluded to Christian presence and witness. The witness Jesus asks of us is not closed, it is open, it is up to us.”

If we are convinced that God is a good and merciful Father, and therefore if we are proud of the full trust he places in us!

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


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