Jesus calls men to extraordinary fruitfulness and warns of eternal punishment for the unfruitful in the Parable of the Ten Pounds. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Diligence so he can strive to gain high yields on his God-given talents and by seeking the Gift of Knowledge from the Holy Spirit so he can be prepared and act to protect the innocent with just force.
33rd Week in Ordinary time – Wednesday – Lk 19:11-28
Nearing His Passion, Jesus refutes the false belief that the Messiah would be a political king who would usher in an immediate world-wide Kingdom of God. In The Parable of the Ten Pounds (called the Parable of the Talents in the Gospel of Matthew), Jesus reveals His Kingdom is far away (a far country), He will be absent for a time, He will return to settle up accounts, and men will be held accountable when they die in the Judgment and at His Second Coming.
Jesus Christ (the nobleman) will ascend to Heaven (a far country) and be crowned King (be granted kingly power). Jesus has entrusted the Gospel (10 pounds; about 3 years wages) to His disciples (servants), expecting them to lead others to the Kingdom (return on investment). Each man (servant) will be called before Jesus (the king) to account at the Judgment (the king comes to settle accounts). Men (servants) who deliver outstanding results (5X and 10X returns on talents) are enthusiastically acknowledged (“Well done”) and rewarded (given great authority) by Jesus (the king).
Men who fail to offer Jesus a good return (the servant hides the 1 pound away in a napkin) because of fear of responsibility, stupidity (did not earn interest in a bank) or laziness (slothful) are harshly rebuked (“wicked”) and stripped of responsibility (pounds taken away). Jesus confirms men who rebel against Him are His enemies and will be cast into Hell (“Slay them before me”).
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Consider the demanding expectations Jesus, the Divine King, sets for His men: with Divine Knowledge, Jesus purposefully crafts this parable to confirm the eternal consequences of men’s lives, using both Encouragement and Fear to motivate His men; the perfection of Diligence (a part of Justice), Jesus, as demonstrated by His example of extreme toil and sacrifice to build His Kingdom, confirms the high expectations He has for His men; the perfection of Prudence, Jesus grants each man specific talents and calls each man to a personal mission consistent with his talents; Divine Judge, using Vindication (a part of Justice), Jesus evaluates each man’s diligent use of the talents He gave them, rewarding the good with lavish rewards and punishing the wicked (slothful, cowardice) with Harshness, Condemning them to Hell, using shocking and violent terms to describe the punishment of the evil and rebellious (“Slay them before me”).
Gain high yields on your God-given talents
Realize: Though God gives each man very different abilities (functional skills, spiritual gifts, etc.) and resources (financial, material gifts, etc.), He expects every man to be highly fruitful with the talents he has been granted.
Believe: Reflect upon the Equality and Differences Among Men (CCC 225, 340, 357, 791, 1934-1938).
Pray: Jesus, Granter of Talents, help me build the Virtue of Diligence (a part of Temperance) so I reject the Deadly Sin of Sloth and always strive to give You a great return on the talents You have given me.
Prepare to protect the innocent with just force
Realize: In responding to Jesus’ difficult sayings (e.g. “slay them before me”), weak and confused men ignore, downplay, or falsely claim all Christ’s tough sayings are hyperbole (exaggeration); Jesus deliberately gives harsh and explicit warnings and condemns some to the eternal death of Hell.
Believe: Reflect upon The 5th Commandment, the Just Use of Force (CCC 2307-2317) and the Death Penalty (CCC 2267).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Knowledge so I am prepared and know when and how to justly, prudently, and courageously use force when necessary to protect the innocent, weak, and vulnerable.