From a Creighton Student's Perspective
November 21st, 2007
Attending Mass as a young child, I remember being horrified by the message Jesus told the rich man in Mark 10, "Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." I was horrified by the thought of moving out of my house and leaving everything behind. What I did not realize is that following Jesus does not literally mean selling everything we have. As presented in Lk 19:11-28, Jesus calls us to follow him by investing in and promoting all the talents we have been given.
In the Luke 19 parable, a master who goes on a journey entrusts his servants with various amounts of money. While the New American Bible translates the money as gold coins, other translations refer to the money as talents. While "talents" literally refers to money, it is interesting to compare the use of talents in this parable with our modern day use of the word "talents". According to the parable, the servants are entrusted with various amounts of money according to their ability. It seems that those of us who have been given greater talents are not required to give them up, but instead have more responsibility to see they benefit others and the work of God.
While we are not required to give everything up, we are required to act in accordance with God. When I read the first reading, I could not help but think of St. Thomas More and Robert Bolt's A Man For All Seasons. Thomas More, like the son in the reading, was offered great wealth by the king to denounce God's law. Like the son, Thomas More, chose God over wealth. Both Thomas More and the son realized that the wealth they would receive on earth was very miniscule compared to rewards bestowed by God.
Thomas More expresses this belief in A Man for All Seasons. Informed that Richard Rich has been promoted as Attorney General for Wales as a reward for More's indictment, More wittily remarks "Why Richard, it profits a man nothing to lose his soul for the whole world... but for Wales?" It seems we are often tempted with similar incentives. We are tempted to do anything to land that job, that award, that grade, and often we loose site of the fact that what we do to achieve these goals is not in accordance with the will of God. To cheat on an exam…But for medical school, to fabricate data…but for the Nobel Prize? According to the parable, "…to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away." It profits us nothing to gain something here and forsake the duty bestowed upon us by God. We are allowed to work hard for goals, achieve money, and become servants of our talents and passions as long as, like More said, we are "God's [servants] first."
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