I buried your talent in the ground: Chrysostom

The Gospel reading for Mass today, in the Novus Ordo calendar, was from Matthew 25:14-30, which is the parable of the man who goes on a journey and entrusts his possessions, and different amounts of talents (a huge amount) of silver or gold, to his servants each according to his ability.  At the end, when the master returns and settles us, we hear the sometimes puzzling:

"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."


St. John Chrysostom has something to say about this passage in a sermon On the Gospel of Matthew 78.3:


Let us therefore, knowing these things, contribute whatever we have – weath, diligence or care giving – for our neighbor’s advantage.  for the talents here are each person’s abilities, whether in the way of protection, or in money, or in teaching or in whatever thing you have been given.  Let no one say, "I have but one talent and can do nothing with it."  You are not poorer than the widow.  You are not more uninstructed than Peter and John, who were both "unlearned and ignorant men" (Acts 4:13).  Nevertheless, since the demonstrated zeal and did all things for the common good, they were received into heaven.  For nothing is so pleasing to God as to live for the common advantage. 

For this end God gave us speech, and hands, and feet, and strength of body and mind and understanding, that we might use all these things, both for our own salvation and for our neighbor’s advantage.  Our speech not only is profitable also for instruction and admonition.  And if indeed we used it to this end, we should be imitating our Master; but if for the opposite ends, the devil.


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