Perhaps this parable is not about stewardship of resources, in the sense of asking the maximum effort to produce the maximum gains, but is rather about revealing and denouncing unethical behavior that reinforces oppressive structures of the past and the present.
The tendencies of any group of human beings to normalize power and hide harm are themselves, then, subject to the process Matthew’s gospel is describing. The frankness of communication, of subsidiarity mediation and conflict negotiation, the expectation of honest and mutual accountability described here should also be applied, as healthily and faithfully as possible, to the workings of authority, relationship, and power system within the community.
Living in a time of double pandemic, as the dual waves of racism and COVID-19 wreck against the hulls of our ships and the walls that support us feel increasingly insufficient and even flawed, we, like Peter, may know and trust the call of our God to carry forward in God’s path, and yet waver.
While even his closest associates would lean towards dismissing the people to fend for themselves, [Jesus] invites the community of the wilderness into a divine economy of care. Sharing, as a physical manifestation of that care, requires a suspension of the belief that scarcity is the only reality available in the moment of want.
When Dalits write, they contest these misrepresentations and objectifications, and provide a sub-version of the texts. When Dalits write, they experience liberation. A decolonial reading of this given text calls us to offer our support and solidarity with #Blacklivesmatter and #Dalitlivesmatter, recognising an agency of liberation in our Dalit and Black bodies, lives, and texts.
Mothers like Hagar who bear the weight of racism in the wilderness (Genesis 21:14) are always on the verge of losing their children—inferiorized by racist prejudice. These mothers’ voices are crying out, “Do not let me look on the death of the child” (Genesis 21:16).
This biblical text—the “trial” and execution of Jesus—is a text that we who are Christians know so well we may be tempted to skim it. In the same way, we think we know and understand climate change—enough that we can skim the science.