Jesus sets up this parable like any good story teller would. There was this man who calls forth 3 servants. All good stories have 3 characters in the midst of the action. For example, three men go into a bar and…Here the fourth character, the barman, is tacit and understood to be there.
This passage is too long to be the focus of lectio. It needs to be treated as it was meant to be proclaimed. The point is set up by the lengthy prologue, the would be traveler calling his servants and giving them investment funds, each according to his abilities. What we focus on is “For to all those who have, more will be given, and they will have an abundance; but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away. As for this worthless slave, throw him into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
What is the issue? Faith that God has given me what I have and I have nothing to lose by being radically generous with what isn’t mine? The parable begs a big question: what if I am the one given the 5 or the 10 talents and I invest but lose? Will the traveler be as gratuitous when I report a loss to him? What is divine forgiveness all about? And does the risk involved in faith include a belief in God’s forgiveness? And what does this parable tell us, if anything, about the nature of divine forgiveness?