I have not written a word over the past few weeks. It is the end of fall term for us here and my desk is covered with students’ essays and other – still unmarked – work. We, the instructors, try to pack the rest of our “wisdom” into the remaining three or so classes while fording off requests for research paper extensions and such like. Students try to put together something sensible for us to mark while memorizing Latin conjugations, or Spanish verbs, or French declensions. Tired and nervous, university folk tend to forget that there will be – sometime – a far greater event which we all will have to participate in – the Final Judgment. There will be no extension for this one. And it will be full of surprises. Our King is unlike all kings…
If you attempt to find one common message of the last few Sunday readings, especially the one about the wise and unwise maidens, waiting for the Groom and the servants with talents, you cannot help coming to the same conclusion: LOVE. The wise maidens did not share their oil with the silly ones. On surface it seems that they did so because they feared the Groom. No, they did it because they loved the Groom. He was their priority and it was his wedding and they wanted to make this evening so special for him, so unspoilt, full of light and joy! The silly maidens did not care or maybe did not even bother to get to know him.
Likewise the stewards of talents. The servant who received five talents must have been close to his Master – and must have loved him most of the three. It was not easy to invest such a large sum (34 kg of gold per 1 talent). In those times there were good investments and bad ones. Trade was probably the best but carried enormous risks – many ships went down along with its cargo. The good servant spent his days trying to think what his Master’s wishes would be… and his greatest fear was not that Master would chastise him if he loses those 5 talents, as that he would lose, that he would be somehow diminished…
When we love, truly love, we do not think about ourselves, even in terms of reward of punishment, Heaven or Hell. Love knows no fear other than that for the Beloved, that my sin might hurt Him. Love trusts infinitely and this trust makes our naturally small, narrow hearts large like Heaven itself. Love helps us overcome our fears, cross impossible boundaries, walk on water. And – if we only allow ourselves to be surprised by this incredible Joy – one day, with awe, but not fear we will meet the King who says:
I myself will pasture my sheep;
I myself will give them rest, says the Lord GOD.
The lost I will seek out,
the strayed I will bring back,
the injured I will bind up,
the sick I will heal,
but the sleek and the strong I will destroy
So – if we are lost, strayed, injured and sick – we have nothing to fear… as long as we do not stop loving – loving Him in the poor, sick, imprisoned, homeless…
He will find us and bring us back, bind our wounds and heal… the King who is love.