Parables of Jesus


Parables of life

The mines

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The mines

From the Gospel of Luke Chapter 19, Verses 12.27

At that time, Jesus told a parable because he was near Jerusalem and the disciples believed that the kingdom of God should show up at any moment.
He then said: "A man of noble lineage left for a distant country to receive a royal title and then return. Called ten servants, he handed them ten mines, saying: Use them until I return. But his citizens hated him and sent him back an emissary to say: "We do not want him to come to reign over us. When he was back, after obtaining the title of king, he called the servants to whom he had given the money, to see how much each had earned".

The first one presented himself and said: Lord, your mine has yielded ten more mines. He said to him: Well, good servant; since you have shown yourself faithful in little, you receive power over ten cities. Then the second came and said, "Your mine, sir, has yielded five more mines." To this he said, "You will also be the leader of five cities".
Then the other one came too and said: Lord, here is your mine, which I kept in a handkerchief; I was afraid of you being a severe man that take what you didn't put in storage, reap what you didn't sow.
He answered: "From your own words I judge you, wicked servant!" Did you know that I am a severe man, that I take what I did not put in storage and reap what I did not sow: why then did you not give my money to a bank? On my return I would have collected it with interest.

Then he said to those present: Take the mine from him and give it to the one who has ten. They said to him: Lord, he already has ten mines! I tell you: To whomever he will be given; but to those who do not have what they have will also be taken away. And those enemies of mine who did not want me to become their king, lead them here and kill them in front of me. "Having said these things, Jesus proceeded ahead of the others by going up to Jerusalem.

Parable exegesis

The brief parable of the mines reported by Luke is similar to that of the talents of Matthew, although it differs in some aspects. Luca's protagonist is a nobleman who, having to leave his country of origin to "receive a royal title and then return", calls ten servants and gives them ten mines to bear fruit in his absence.

In ancient Greece the "mine", besides being a ponderous measure, had also become a currency of account: a silver mine corresponded to 100 dramas and 60 mines corresponded to a talent. The value varied according to the places and the times, but then 60 silver mines corresponded to the salary recognized for almost 17 years of work of a worker (1 mine was therefore the salary of more than 3 months).

Unlike Matteo, Luca points out that the protagonist is about to go to a "distant" country, suggesting that - for this reason - he will not be able to return very soon: the parable, as Luke underlines, was narrated by Jesus "because he was near Jerusalem and the disciples believed that the kingdom of God should manifest itself at any moment "; with this "far" instead we want to allude that the return of the "nobleman" would not have been immediate, but only after his royal investiture: we allude here to the Ascension and the return of Jesus at the end of time. His citizens, however, hated him and, through ambassadors, let him know that they did not want him for a king as, when Archelaus went to Rome to obtain the succession of his father Herod the Great, the Jews sent ambassadors so that Augusto, deposed him as king; but Archelaus was confirmed again in the kingdom, although only as an ethnarch, and made fierce revenge of his enemies.

When the nobleman of the parable returned, after obtaining the title of king, he summoned the servants to whom he had given the money, to see how much each of them had earned. The sovereigns of the East used to compensate their servants by putting them at the head of the City or of the Provinces on the basis of their loyalty: to the servants who had made the mine bear fruit in another ten and five mines, the prize was proportionate to the profit made and became leaders respectively of ten and five cities; to the servant who presented himself with only the delivered capital and justified his own indolence by accusing the master for being severe and insatiable, the mine that was entrusted to him before departure was also removed: he had not invested the money received in order not to expose himself to the danger of losing it, nor he had considered it opportune to hand it over to the bank to make its interests mature, therefore the king condemned him; in fact the servant knew well what was the intent for which he had been delivered (to make it bear fruit, and not keep it) and he knew the way of acting of his master (severe and insatiable) therefore, holding back the mine and hiding it in a handkerchief instead to make it bear fruit, he acted in full consciousness contrary to what he had been told: "From your own words I judge you, wicked servant! [...]

Take the mine away and give it to the one who has ten. "The rich man, in fact, easily acquires new wealth, while the poor with equal ease, fearing to lose even the little he has, does not compromise it or lets it devalue. Who uses well of the graces of God deserves new increments of grace, while those who abuse them, deserve to be deprived also of the gifts that they have already received.

"And those enemies of mine who did not want me to become their king, lead them here and kill them before me": the punishment reserved for their rebellious subjects is terrible, that is to those who "hated" him because, probably, they considered him - as the last servant of the preserved mine - "a severe man, who takes what he has not put in storage and reaps what I have not sown". They are condemned to death for having sided with the wrong, in the same way as the "wicked servant": that which is severity and injustice in their eyes, is justice in the eyes of God! Man's conduct and thoughts will not be judged according to the laws that have been given or the interpretation that has been made of them for his own use and consumption, but according to the Law and the Word of the Highest Good and of Perfect Justice.

The noble man of the parable represents Jesus Christ, who ascended into heaven to receive the kingdom conquered with his passion and death with solemn and regal investiture. He will return in due course to the universal judgment. The ten servants are the faithful; the mine represents the various graces given to each one to make his own sanctification. The citizens, who do not want Jesus to be king, are the Jews and all the wicked who judge his action "wrong", on the basis of the false interpretation that they themselves have given themselves of the Law: on His return, Jesus will give the good the reward deserved and will make the rebels bear the brunt of his "just" condemnation.

But the judgment of Jesus on the ungodly began to make itself felt on the Jews already at that time with the destruction of Jerusalem, concrete testimony of the end reserved for those who will present themselves to the extreme judgment with the baggage of their iniquities, for not having put into practice what was asked and not to have made the goods received fruitful.