Doers of the Word
And the other seven?
There are two versions of today’s parable of the talents. One found in Matthew 25, with three servants, and the other in Luke 19, with ten servants. These parables are the last things Jesus tells his disciples before he enters Jerusalem to face the cross and die.
The big question is how do we relate the Gospel of Jesus to a world of politics and economics? If we are to live a true Christian (pro) life we will have to deal with government decisions that are not in accordance with the Gospel. If we follow those decisions, we will assume their values, actions and priorities with regard to money and power. If we follow Jesus, we will end up in Jerusalem at the cross (figuratively speaking). We can’t be both. We must choose. And the seven in Luke’s version of the parable? Perhaps Jesus is saying that most of them will die eventually along with Jesus. A world based on power, violence, exploitation, dominance, occupied territories, nationalism, arrogance, terrorism, slaying enemies is not a gospel world.
The story of the talents is about power and money. It is a warning. Jesus tries to prepare his disciples, who think the Kingdom is coming soon. They think this because they are ignoring Jesus’s words about the cross, rejection, persecution and death.
These stories of Jesus tell us that we might be making wrong choices, aligning ourselves to the wrong people and the need to relent, repent and heed Jesus’ teachings.
The stories are also about hope. The Gospel offers alternatives of hope, a place of hospitality and that God’s basic rules for the Kingdom “on earth as it is in Heaven” are forgiveness, reconciliation, healing and communication.
Are we like the third servant, trying to hang on to what we’ve got? Are we one of the seven who disappear and don’t seem to count at all? Are we perhaps among the compatriots of the king who don’t want him as ruler and are executed within the context of the system’s politics and violence (Luke’s version)? In Jesus’ own community ten are executed, one is exiled, and one commits suicide. Go figure!