Did you ever wonder what happened to the servant who buried his master’s talents, after the owner returned looking for it? “Then the one who had received the one talent came forward and said, “Master, I knew you were a demanding person, harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter, so out of fear I went off and buried your talent in the ground. Here it is back.” “This servant was thrown into the darkness outside , where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.” (Mt. 25: 24-25, 30).
“If that servant says to himself, My master is delayed in coming, and begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants, to eat and drink and get drunk, then that servant’s master will come on an unexpected day and at an unknown hour and will punish him severely and assign him a place with the unfaithful.” “Much will be required of the person with much, and still more will be demanded of the person entrusted with more.” (Lk. 12: 45 - 46, 48b).
More than once Jesus used parables such as these to describe the mandate that he expects from each of us. Those of us who are confirmed were given gifts/talents not as another Sacrament like a notch on our belt, but as a working task to bring the Good News to others by our good works.
It may be very rewarding to attend Mass regularly, listen to great homilies, share with friends what the church offers us at other’s expense, but unless what we receive as attributes and turn them around giving them back our gift becomes useless and a demand for our reasons will be accountable.
Those of us with Holy Orders are expected in some way to use our gifts to bring persons to Christ. This is a responsibility to which we are accountable. However, a lay person also receives that same mandate via confirmation. Accepting the gift of confirmation requires us to invest those talents and gain interest as in building the Kingdom of God and capturing souls in the process.
Perhaps the most profound parable of Jesus is the parable of the fig tree. “There once was person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it and found none, he said to the gardener, For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but have found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil? He said to him in reply, Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future, if not you can cut it down.” (Lk. 13: 6 - 9).
A most scathing example of the mandate given to each of us. Produce fruit from our gifts given by the Holy Spirit or answer to God why we didn’t!
Ralph B. Hathaway, Easter Season 2021