Twenty-fifth Sunday after Pentecost (19 November)

Our Gospel passage today comes from Matthew, Chapter 25

A conventional theological reading of today’s Gospel treats it as a extract from a text on stewardship. Talents – gifts, skills, resources – are mutually interchangeable in the divine economy and therefore can be understood in economic terms. Christians are given different talents by God and we should use them rather than bury them. This is the third of four stories Jesus tells about the implications of the impending but uncalendared final event in the divine plan. All four stories centre on the return of the master or bridegroom or king, the judgments that come with that return, and how those who await his return should spend their time. Jesus told this story in the middle of his own personal high-risk venture. It was during the last few days of his life. Earlier he had made a decision to leave the safety of rural Galilee and go to Jerusalem, the capital city, where the religious authorities would regard him as a threat to their own power and prerogatives. I encourage you to read this story in your own time. The point of the parable here is not really about doubling your money and accumulating wealth. It is about living. It is about investing. It is about taking risks. It is about Jesus himself and what he has done and what is about to happen to him. Mostly it is about what he hopes and expects of them after he is gone. It is about being a follower of Jesus and what it means to be faithful to him, and so, finally, it is about you and me. The greatest risk of all, it turns out, is not to care deeply and in the process risk everything. The greatest risk of all is to play it safe. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that the sin of respectable people is running from responsibility. Here Jesus invites us to be his disciples, to live our lives as fully as possible by investing them, by risking, by loving unconditionally and by caring deeply, for in so doing we enter into joy upon the master’s return.