“Engage in trade with these until I return.”
Today’s Gospel reading presents us with Luke’s version of the Parable of the Talents from Matthew’s Gospel. Luke’s version seems a little confusing to our ears, perhaps. There is evidence that the nobleman seeking the kingship was actually a contemporary nobleman trying to do just that. Whatever the case, we have a jumble. Ten men get coins, but only three get questioned at the end, there’s the whole story about the nobleman and the delegation that didn’t want him to be king, and then the slaying of those delegates at the end. If you’re scratching your head about all that, I think that’s most understandable!
I think the pivotal command is what I just quoted: “Engage in trade with these until I return.” That’s what the nobleman says to the ten servants who received the ten gold coins. The ten gold coins are extremely valuable. Their value is more or less what a poor servant might make in his entire lifetime. So the real question today is, what is it that is really worth that much? With what have we been entrusted that could possibly be so valuable?
Obviously those ten coins represent the Gospel to us, the command to engage in trade with them is our witness. And as we approach the end of the Church year, it would be a very good idea to see which of the servants we have been. Have we been hard at it, giving witness by the way we live our lives, the service we give without anyone knowing about it, the integrity with which we conduct our business, which has caused people to admire our way of life, to seek to find what we have? Or have we wrapped it all in a handkerchief and stored it away so that we won’t lose it and can find it when we need it, making it all about us, caving in to our fear, and never giving anyone a reason to suspect we are Christians? The Church year is ending, our Master will soon return. What return will we give him on his investment in our eternity?