The Parable of the Talents – Matthew 25:14-30 – Meaning and Commentary

1. Introductory prayer for The Parable of the Talents – Matthew 25:14-30

I pause and slowly calm myself. I make the sign of the cross, becoming more deeply aware of God’s presence within me and in everything that surrounds me. I ask for the grace of the Holy Spirit, for the gift of being moved by God’s word, which I am now allowed to read, listen to, ponder, and allow it to shape Christ within me (Gal 4:19), that I may become merciful, just as the heavenly Father is merciful (Lk 6:36). I ask for this in my own words or by using the following:

Please grant me the grace to be able to listen from the outside and from within. From the outside, the words I read, from within, the feelings and impulses that arise. Slowly, I begin to read the passage from the Gospel. Word by word. Line by line. I gaze upon Him who speaks to me.

2. Reading – Listening: The Parable of the Talents – Matthew 25:14-30

14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods.

15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey.

16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents.

17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two.

18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money.

19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them.

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20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more.

21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them.

23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.

24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed:

25 And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine.

26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed:

27 Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury.

28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents.

29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath.

30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

3. Thoughts on the Gospel: The Parable of the Talents – Matthew 25:14-30 – Meaning and Commentary

“The parable tells of a man who, before leaving on a journey, distributed his possessions among his servants. They all received some of the kingdom’s goods, but not all responded in the same way! The first two servants worked and doubled their talents, while the third buried his.

After a long time, the master returned and rewarded the first two servants with joy. But the third returned the talent with these words: ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you!’ (Matthew 25:24-25)

In these words, there was a mistaken idea about God, and that’s why Jesus criticized it. The servant saw in God only a strict master. Such a God is feared by humans, leading them to hide behind meticulous adherence to commandments. They think that by being strict, they can avoid judgment and the severity of the master who could punish them.

In reality, such a person does not trust God but only themselves and their adherence to commandments. They are closed off, far from God, and indifferent to others. A wrong image of God isolates a person, paralyzes them, prevents their free growth and responsible actions, kills the community, and does not help people live joyfully.

Finally, the master says to take the talent from the third servant and give it to the one who already has ten, ‘For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.’ (Matthew 25:29) This is the key to understanding the parable. In truth, talents are the goods of God’s kingdom: love, service, and sharing. They are all free gifts, everything that enables a community to live and grow, revealing God’s presence. When a person closes themselves out of fear, they lose even the little they have. Love dies, justice weakens, and sharing disappears. Conversely, a person who doesn’t think of themselves and gives to others grows and receives everything that has been given to them and more (Matthew 10:39).

In God’s kingdom, there is no difference between those who receive more and those who receive less. Everyone receives according to their abilities. It’s important that the gift is put in service to the Kingdom, enabling the community’s growth in love, brotherhood, and sharing. The parable doesn’t emphasize producing more talents but indicates a way to live life with God.

The first two servants don’t demand anything and don’t seek personal gain. They don’t keep their talents for themselves and don’t make any calculations. Very naturally, without realizing it, without seeking personal gain, they work—for the kingdom.

Because the third servant fears, they do nothing. They act in the right way according to the norms of ancient law. They remain within established norms. They lose nothing, but they also gain nothing. Consequently, they lose even the little they had. God’s kingdom is connected with risk. Those who don’t take risks lose it!”

4. Meditation – Thinking

I am now reflecting on the heard Word of God. I am looking at Jesus and other individuals in the passage. I am observing how the Word of God touches my thoughts and feelings, how it reveals God to me and me to myself and others in Him. The following thoughts or questions can also be helpful:

  • What is my image of God and what does the parable reveal to me?
  • What will my life be like if I dare to live in accordance with what is given to me?

5. Personal Prayer

In the next moments of silence, I talk about this with Jesus. I tell him what I think, what I feel, what I want. I ask him for the grace that I need for … (make your conversation with God).

6. Contemplation – Quiet moment with God

I allow everything within me to fall silent. I am simply present in God, just as He is present in me. Perhaps from this silence and stillness, I will sense even more of God’s address and His desire for me to be always with Him and to do everything with Him and in Him…

7. Action

When I enter into a personal relationship with God, He transforms me, makes me more loving, and inspires me to take concrete action…

8. Prayer at the end

“Heavenly Father, thank you for your kingdom where there’s no distinction between those who receive more and those who receive less. We all receive according to our abilities. But if we don’t dare to act in accordance with what we’ve received, we lose everything.”

9. Review of my prayer meditation or reflection

This is the time when I became aware of and articulate what was happening within me during prayer. The following questions can assist me in reflection:

  • What was happening during prayer? What feelings and thoughts could I discern within myself?
  • What did I learn about God, His relationship with me and others, and my own relationship with Him and others?
  • How did I conclude my prayer? What did I receive in it for my everyday life?
  • In the end, I can jot down my insights, discoveries, and realizations. I also note where I encountered difficulties, as these can be valuable in understanding God’s relationship with me and my relationship with Him. They can also help me find a more suitable way of praying. Then, I express gratitude to the triune God for everything.

Lectio Divina meditations are published and adapted with permission from the Jesuits home –

Text from the Bible – King James Version (kKJV)

Let us remain close in the same prayer! May the Lord bless you abundantly!