Wednesday, November 16, 2011

To Everyone Who Has, More Will Be Given

November 16, 2011

Wednesday of the Thirty-Third Week in Ordinary Time

By Colleen O'Sullivan

While people were listening to Jesus speak, he proceeded to tell a parable because he was near Jerusalem and they thought that the Kingdom of God would appear there immediately. So he said, “A nobleman went off to a distant country to obtain the kingship for himself and then to return. He called ten of his servants and gave them ten gold coins and told them, ‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’ His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, “’We do not want this man to be our king.’ But when he returned after obtaining the kingship, he had the servants called, to whom he had given the money, to learn what they had gained by trading. The first came forward and said, ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ He replied, “Well done, good servant! You have been faithful in this very small matter; take charge of ten cities.’ Then the second came and reported, ‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’ And to this servant too he said, ‘You, take charge of five cities.’ Then the other servant came and said, ‘Sir, here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief, for I was afraid of you, because you are a demanding man; you take up what you did not lay down and you harvest what you did not plant.’ He said to him ‘With your own words I shall condemn you, you wicked servant. You knew I was a demanding man, taking up what I did not lay down and harvesting what I did not plant; why did you not put my money in a bank? Then on my return I would have collected it with interest.’ And to those standing by he said, ‘Take the gold coin from him and give it to the servant who has ten.’ But they said to him, ‘Sir, he has ten gold coins.’ He replied, “I tell you, to everyone who has, more will be given, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. Now as for those enemies of mine who did not want me as their king, bring them here and slay them before me.’” After he had said this, he proceeded on his journey up to Jerusalem. (Luke 19:11-28)


Lord, you have blessed and entrusted us with so many gifts. Help us to be generous in sharing with our brothers and sisters what you have given us.


Jesus tells this parable about the coins to his disciples as they are on their way to Jerusalem. They are expecting the reign of God to appear in Jerusalem. It would; but in no way that they were anticipating. In spite of all Jesus has said to the contrary, they are expecting Jesus to rule in earthly splendor, to wrest control from the Roman oppressors, to restore the political kingdom of Israel.

We hear the story from a different perspective. Jesus has been to Jerusalem. He has suffered, died and risen. He has ascended to the Father. We are the servants in the story, entrusted with gifts, awaiting our Lord’s return as King of all creation, at which point he will demand an accounting of us.

Most of the time when we hear this parable or the somewhat similar parable of the talents, we think about our material possessions and what we do with them. But God, through his Son, has given us other gifts as well and, I think, will be just as interested in what we do with these gifts as in what we do with our material goods.

God gives each of us the gift of life. God knows us before we are even conceived in our mothers’ wombs and has a purpose for sending each one of us into this world. When I think about how to multiply or share that gift, I think about having respect for life. We spend a great deal of time talking about being pro-life and anti-abortion. We also need to talk about respecting life at other stages, such as when people grow older and near the end of their lives here on earth. I remember driving to the ER in Delaware early one morning a couple of years ago, to find my mother on a stretcher, babbling incoherently. Normally, my mom was sharp as a tack, so I knew something was very wrong. I was horrified at the way the nursing staff treated her and my father and very glad I had gotten up when I did and gone there. They needed an advocate. The nurse said with a look of distaste, well, she’s 80 and she’s been like that ever since she got here, as though that were the sum total of my mother’s existence and a not very valuable one at that. If my father asked a question, she directed the answer to me. Fortunately, my mom had had a bad reaction to a new medication and was fine when it got out of her system, but I haven’t forgotten how disrespectfully and uncaringly they were treated just because of their age.

God gives each one of us the gift of unsurpassed love. No one could ever love us more than the One who created us. The thing we sometimes forget, though, is that God loves each and every one of us, even the people you and I don’t like, just as much as he loves us. So, when it comes to sharing and multiplying that gift, maybe we need to reach outside our comfort zones and try to look at other people as God sees them, his beloved creatures.

God also gives us the gifts of mercy and forgiveness. We all sin. We all fail to be the people we want to be in some fashion or another. Yet God is always waiting for us with open arms. All we have to do is turn back to God and he welcomes us. We get another chance. Are we that willing to extend that kind of forgiveness to those who hurt us?


When you’re praying today, take a few moments to reflect on the ways you have experienced God’s gifts of life, love, mercy and forgiveness. How could you better or more abundantly share those gifts with others?