see God from a different perspective

today’s gospel reading from matthew 25: 14-30 is the parable of the talents. (i include it at the end of this post– please read it!) it is no coincidence that many dioceses use this weekend for a stewardship-themed focus. i have done these stewardship homilies many times at mass. God gives us time, treasure and talent. in order to be good stewards of God’s gifts, we are to share them for good of others and the community. this is an aspect of loving one another as God loves us. today’s gospel fits the bill with the talents given by God.

but might there be another way of hearing wisdom from this scripture?

many years ago, i heard fr. richard rohr o.f.m. talk about this parable from a different perspective. this interpretation comes from a poor man in the small christian community bible sharing among the poor in latin america.

he saw this parable as turned upside down–the hero is the last servant given the one talent and the bad person was the master!

the key in this alternative interpretation is the servant’s description of the master as “harvesting where you did not plant and gathering where you did not scatter.” that does not describe God, does it? it describes someone taking advantage of the land for his personal benefit. this master exploits the system and those who labor under him for his own riches. those who have less and are struck with fear suffer this master’s wrath. people who are poor suffer. isn’t this a description of our world operates?

the servant who the master describes as lazy did not cooperate in this evil system. could this last servant have been a forerunner to gandhi’s non-violent, non-cooperation movement in the face of this world’s power dynamic seen in the brits? aren’t there echoes of the people with martin luther king jr and the march on selma in this parable?

could it be a parable that sheds light on the last beatitude from matthew 5: 11-12?

“Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

it is the last servant who is blessed because he did not cooperate in the evil of the master’s greed. it is the servant who suffered persecution and false, harsh words of the master who is favored by the Lord.

miraculous openings in our minds and hearts happen when we listen to our poor brothers and sisters. how else can we appreciate their perspective on this world we all live in if we do not listen? what other interpretations of the scriptures are seen differently by people who live on the margins of society? how does their wisdom enlighten us to God’s ways and will in the world?

Lord, help us better understand your will for us in this world. we pray your protection and presence with our brothers and sister who are exploited by the powerful in our world. open our eyes and ears through the stories of our brothers and sisters on the margins. may we all walk together in your love and grace. give us your blessings this day; give us true joy in following you as our God. amen


The Parable of the Talents. “It will be as when a man who was going on a journey called in his servants and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one—to each according to his ability. Then he went away. Immediately the one who received five talents went and traded with them, and made another five. Likewise, the one who received two made another two. But the man who received one went off and dug a hole in the ground and buried his master’s money. After a long time the master of those servants came back and settled accounts with them. The one who had received five talents came forward bringing the additional five. He said, ‘Master, you gave me five talents. See, I have made five more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ [Then] the one who had received two talents also came forward and said, ‘Master, you gave me two talents. See, I have made two more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. Since you were faithful in small matters, I will give you great responsibilities. Come, share your master’s joy.’ 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.’ His master said to him in reply, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I did not plant and gather where I did not scatter? Should you not then have put my money in the bank so that I could have got it back with interest on my return? Now then! Take the talent from him and give it to the one with ten. For to everyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And throw this useless servant into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’

“I do feel that God is with the movement of noncooperation. I have no special revelation of God’s will. My firm belief is that God reveals himself daily to every human being, but we shut our ears to that ‘still small voice.’ We shut our eyes to the ‘pillar of fire’ in front of us.” —Mohandas Gandhi


  1. beccamac2001 says:

    I always scratched my head at this one too, what a refreshing take.
    Sister Anne gave our legion of Mary (we are back!) her talk on this gospel Thursday.
    I wish she could read your blog .
    We are allowed to take communion to one home ours household per day per legion member.
    Maybe I can forward it to her .
    Fr, Art hugs to your mama.🥰


    1. frarthurcmf says:

      glad ya got something out of it becca! keep sharing christ in the eucharist– what a special ministry, especially at this time of covid


Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s