In this week’s gospel, Matthew develops the theme of what it means to be living in the in-between time. The Master has given the servants ‘talents’ and on his return they will be judged according to how they have used those talents and whether they have followed his instructions. A talent was a standard measure of currency in the Near East, and a very large sum indeed. In fact, each servant has been given a treasure. Two perform well, but the third is paralysed by the fear of taking a risk and hides his talent away. His excuse is that he knew his master was an exacting man and so he refused even to try. He condemns himself by not responding to the demands of the master. This gospel challenges us to drop our false notion of God as an exacting master, to appreciate the gifts we have been given, and to use and develop them for our good and the good of others.