I’m struck by the words, ‘each in proportion to their ability.’
Now the broken part of our humanity would protest that such a giving (like the one of our Gospel by the Master) was unfair. One might experience feelings of envy and jealousy. Both envy and jealousy are as old as Cain and Abel. Even when we watch children play, one sibling might get angry and jealous that another has received a cola flavoured lollipop, even though they both received lollipops, just different flavours.
Although jealousy and envy are not the main points of our Gospel today, without them in our lives, we begin to take on the mission of the servant with five talents and grow what’s been given to us. For jealousy and envy make the situation about the self, whereas the call of the servant is to take what we’ve been given and use it for others.
The Master’s splendour in giving such generous gifts to the servants was so that there could be a return on the payment. Yet, although we might use language of a capitalist theme, this parable is not really about interest on a monetary investment but it’s about interest on a relational investment.
The Lord has given mercy, grace and love generously to those who in turn will hand that on to others. With those who have been entrusted with much of God’s very self, much too is expected of them. The servant who then hides and buries the potential of God’s Life in the world or keeps it to himself, does not understand the nature of God’s gift. God gives us God’s self, so that we might give of that life to another.
The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams once said, ‘At the Day of Judgement, as we are often reminded, the question will not be about why we failed to be someone else: I shall not be asked why I wasn’t Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa, but why I wasn’t Rowan Williams.
We’ve all been given something, by God’s design. Whatever that may be, let us use it well and according to our own ability, for the Lord has chosen you for this task, no one else.
Fr William Aupito Iuliano