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Wednesday Gospel Reflection

Wednesday, November 16, 2016
In the parable of the Ten Gold Coins, Jesus tells a story of a nobleman going off to obtain his kingship. He gave ten servants a gold coin each, telling them to,

‘Engage in trade with these until I return.’ His fellow citizens, however, despised him and sent a delegation after him to announce, ‘We do not want this man to be our king’ (cf. Lk 19:13-14).

One servant who is given a gold coin, instead of investing or trading, decides to hide it away in a handkerchief. When the nobleman returns from obtaining his Kingship, he asks this servant for the revenues. The cheeky response of the servant to the nobleman, ‘you harvest what you did not plant’ is presumptuous. The nobleman describes the servant as wicked, perhaps because the nobleman knows the servant intended to take the coin for himself? This servant who hid the coin may have thought the nobleman would lose the battle for his kingship. If the servant really feared the nobleman’s demanding nature, he would have put the coin into a bank, which would have been an almost risk-free investment. Then again, perhaps the servant saw no point in investing the coin in a bank, due to the low rate of return.

What can we take from this story? It is not about money. The people who this story is being told to, thought that the Kingdom of God would appear in Jerusalem immediately. However, this is not the case. The Kingdom would never be a physical place on this world, and we have a hint in this passage that Jesus is in fact the nobleman in the parable. The angry villagers are probably the Jewish authorities who rejected Jesus as King. The nobleman would be leaving, to one day return in full kingship, just as Jesus Christ would eventually do. The coins are perhaps the authority invested in the various positions in the Church that Jesus is about to found. But there is the expectation that there will be a profit to give back when Christ returns, appropriate to our own standing and how hard we work, at making the deposit of faith give a good return. It is not clear what happens to the servant who hid the coin away, but what we can take from this passage is that the servant received a punishment suited to his transgression.


Luke Doherty O.P.

Fr Luke Doherty is assistant priest at Holy Cross, Leicester, and Catholic Chaplain to HMP Leicester |  luke.doherty@english.op.org


Bronac Holden commented on 17-Nov-2016 01:22 PM
I liked your explanation of this story. I had quite forgotten the delegation's remarks and that the servant's remark was cheeky and linking the whole story to Jesus and the Church! I rather fear that I am an unprofitable servant but not a cheeky one...
It just shows that one can always get new insights by re-reading the Bible over and over again. Thank you Luke

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