Sharing love and mercy
Most of us have read the parable of the talents many times, and more likely than not we think of the talents referred to as representing our own gifts or abilities and that we should use them not for our benefit but for the good of others. A less common interpretation — equally valid and arguably more profound — is that the talents represent the priceless gifts of mercy and love that God so readily gives to us. And those gifts of mercy and love grow and multiply the more we use them and not when we hide or grow indifferent towards them.
We can understand this better with the aid of the first reading from the book of Proverbs about the “worthy wife”. She is like the servant in the parable of the talents who doubled his five talents by using them. She works busily within her household and does so “with loving hands” (Proverbs 31:13). Instead of stopping there, she goes on to “reach out her hands to the poor, and extends her arms to the needy” (31:30). In other words, she does not bury the love and mercy that she receives from God. Instead, she gives them away to anyone who needs them.
God’s precious gifts of mercy and love are given to everyone. This means that we all have the responsibility to open our hands and hearts to give them away to those around us. We receive love and so we should give love. We are shown mercy and so we should show mercy. And we should never think that we have given away enough love or mercy. We must keep sharing these gifts so that our circle of influence will grow larger and larger, just as the two men in the parable multiplied their talents by trading. Let us be inspired by Saint Teresa of Calcutta. She never tried to eradicate poverty, at least not by herself. The mission she set herself was to be with one person at a time. And, as we all know, her circle of influence affected the whole world, inspiring countless others to spread the gifts of love and mercy.