Monday, November 20, 2017

The third man

The third man or servant, the one with one talent is worth considering. Why did he not do anything with that one talent, except bury it?

The answer is given us,  "Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow; so I was afraid ..." (RSV translation). It is pretty obvious that his fear has blinded him to know that what the master wanted was a profit. so it seems as if he didn't know his master very well, the other two servants obviously knew him better. Perhaps the fact he buries the talent indicates that whilst his master is away, for 'a long while', he is happy to have him out of his mind and house and life, his memory buried with talent amongst the dead things in the earth. One is left to wonder too what he is doing whilst not burdened by his master's affairs, is he mistreating his fellow servants or perhaps found another master to serve.

Scripture tells us, "perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love" (1Jn 4:18). We don't kinow about the other two servants but presumably they knew the master better than the third one, perhaps they loved him too because the knew him "We cannot love what we do not know", says St Thomas Aquinas. The third servant certainly does not love, he is merely afraid, too afraid to either know or do his masters will, yet he knows it perfectly, because he says that his master reaps where he has sown and gathers where he has not winnowed.

Jesus says, "If you love me, keep my commandments". John 14:15. There are lots of themes here, first of all love gives us an insight into what his commandments are, then proof of love is by action, not necessarily by emotions or sentiment.

What is not forgiven the third servant is that he is paralysed by 'his' fears and is unable to see or act beyond them to produce any fruit, he is fixed on himself rather than his master. He has built his life, his house, on the sand, of his feelings and fears, rather than the rock-like hardness of the masters will who invites his servants to follow "the hard and narrow path".


Victor S E Moubarak said...

You make a good point here, Father. What is not clear, however, is the dividing line, (if any exists), between love and fear.

If we love God, as best we can, because we fear the consequences of ending up in hell - Is that love worthless? Is it less or more honest in the eyes of the Lord.

Many a Christian says that He loves God. But why does He love God? And is one to blame if one's faith is so fragile that their love of God stems from an innate fear of making the wrong choice?

Christ mentions often Faith, saying we need as little as a mustard seed to move mountains. Yet none of us can do so. Is our Faith not enough?

I have Faith, very little which often falters when things go wrong in my life. Is that really my fault; or is that what I have been given by God's grace?

God bless you.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Victoria, It depends on the nature of the fear, worth reading S Thomas on it.

I once had to cut a babies finger nails, I was terriied of cutting his fingers.

As for fear of hell, most Fathers would say be confident of everyone elses, fear for one's own but doubt not that God loves you even more than His Son, or the Saints, or anyone else!

Liam Ronan said...

At the Mass I attended here in the west of Ireland, the full Gospel reading (Mt. 25:14-30) was not read by the priest. The 'shorter form in italics' was read.

Goodby Mr. Two Talents and Mr. One Talent and the outer darkness the latter was chucked into. Only Mr. Five Talents got a mention with his "Well done good and faithful servant..."

On the trip home everyone in the car was remarking about the slicing and dicing of the Gospel and Mr. Five Talents who came off as a early investment banker-type.

Most distressing.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr. Blake, some of your readers also used to comment on Fr. Dickson's and Andrew's blog called Catholic Collar and Tie (CC&T). Andrew, has posted the following on CC&T:
Father was started on intravenous (IV) antibiotics on Friday and, despite still being very ill, had shown some minor minor improvement and was transferred to a different hospital last night (Monday) and his antibiotics changed to oral. At around 4am this morning he deteriorated significantly and struggled to breathe, and it was discovered that his infection markers (CRP & White Cell Count) had risen again. Further, despite the pneumonia having been hitherto confined to one lung, the other now has 'crackles'. He has since been switched back to IV antibiotics and is being closely monitored.

Needless to say, he remains terribly ill, and prayers are of paramount importance...


As CC&T has been dormant for a while since June, the blog's readers may not be aware of Fr. Dickson's urgent need of prayers. Could you please alert your readers, some of whom comment on CC&T of Father Dickson's condition and his need of their prayers?

God bless

Liam Ronan said...


I will keep Father Dickson in my daily rosary. May Jesus Christ King and Divine Physician restore Father Dickson to good health in short order.

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