Looking to the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible, for insight into this Sunday’s Gospel, I was drawn to one word in the explanation of the parable of the journeying master and the servants, who are given responsibilities in the form of money. The word that caught my attention was risk. You see, the servants were given large sums of money. A talent has been estimated to be around a year’s wage, or perhaps more; either way, it was no small amount. For the first two servants, this does not discourage them from using it to the best of their ability. For the third, though, the fear of failure causes him to bury the talent, since, if the money is not risked it cannot be lost. For many of us, we act more like the third servant than the first two.
We have been given great treasures through our baptism, we have been offered a life with Christ, which is worth far more than any amount of money, no matter how grand it is. Yet, how easy it is to just be comfortable and not respond to the grace that has been given us, to just get along. The reality is that if we do not risk anything, we can live comfortable lives, but we deceive ourselves if we think this is the case. In the parable, the master does not get mad at the servant because he lost the money. Rather, he gets mad at him for not even trying. He didn’t even take it to the bank where it would be secure. Instead, this great treasure sits in the ground and becomes useless. How often do the graces of our baptism become useless and lifeless because we bury them in our comfort, and do not risk anything for Christ? On my laptop on which I am currently writing, I have set as my lock screen a quote from St. Louis de Montfort, which reminds me, “If you do not risk anything for God, you cannot do anything great for him.” I think this is a good reminder for all of us. We need to embrace the idea of taking risks. Yes, we may fail, but if we do not risk anything we also cannot succeed.
Risk is something inherent to life. Think about it this way, God was risking an immense good when he gave us free will since it could so easily be corrupted and used to reject him, but without freedom, we could not love. Think of the young man who is pursuing a young lady, if he never asks her out, he can be confident that he won’t face rejection, but he also will never succeed in winning her affection. Or think of the risk of becoming a parent and failing, which could paralyze a person, but it is a risk worth taking because the good to be achieved is worth the risk. The reality is that nothing great has ever happened in this world without a risk of failure. But perhaps, we no longer believe that there is good to fight for even in the face of potential failure. Yet, God willed the world into being and sustains it despite all its flaws and wounds because there is a goodness in creation. To take a line from The Lord of the Rings, “There is still good in this world, and it is worth fighting for.” Thus, do not be caught off guard in your comfort, but fight the good fight.
Isaac Nibourg – St. Joseph Seminary, Edmonton, Alberta.
Fot. Loic Leray/Unsplash.com