No Time to play it safe!
There is an old story about two farmers visiting over a fence in early Spring. “Jake,” the first one said, “What are you going to plant this year, corn?” “Nope,” Jake replied, “scared of the corn borer.” “Well, what about potatoes?” his neighbor asked. “Nope, too much danger of potato bugs. “The neighbor pressed on, “Well, then, what are you going to plant?” Jake answered, “Nothing! I’m going to play it safe.” In this weekend’s Gospel, Jesus tells the story of a nearly unemployed servant, like Jake, who buried his talent instead of doing business with it.
Images of the “Days of the Son of Man” linger throughout the Scriptures this time of the year. Just two weeks away from the start of a new liturgical year, we find an opportunity to look back at our community’s Gospel investments …. How we have used our time, talent and treasure? How much Kingdom do we have to show for it?
Mathew’s Gospel focuses on the gifts we have received and how well we have used them to foster the kingdom of God. The story makes that master judges the efforts of his servants to use the “TALENTS” he invested and entrusted to them. The first reading presents a different slant on the topic, focusing on the use of one’s gifts in the domestic setting. This might be a good reminder that the talents of the community are not oriented primarily to the worship setting but are intended to bring the Gospel to bear on “every aspect of daily life.”
The whole of Christian life in the words of former Los Angeles Cardinal Mahoney, “…is a response to a gift received.” Our response to God’s investment in us with the pouring out of the life of his beloved son, is to be ever more receptive and appreciative. In short…grateful, to be people of immense gratitude.
This is not an easy thing to evaluate, this call to live from a grateful heart. Giving our time, talent and treasure is not a duty. It is a response to the grandeur and magnitude of God’s gift to us. The great Dominican mystic, Meister Eckhart noted “if the only prayer you say in your life is “thank you,” that would suffice.” But that word of thanks has to spring from the deepest part of ourselves in which the word of God has touched and changed us.
Our parish finance report will be presented at the liturgy of this weekend by Jerome Doris our parish manager and myself – inviting us to reflect on what “Christian stewardship” means these days and how it has impacted the quality of our lives. Even in these Covid days, “Church” is about living the Gospel in and out of this sacred building. May God sustains us with the generosity to live this mystery with real “animo,” real heart-full passion. When it comes to the days of the Lord, this is not time to play it safe.
A gentle week.
Fr. Michael Weldon, OFM