Become a risk taker. MATTHEW 25:14–30
By Bernadette Salandy
Today’s gospel, like last Sunday’s, is a long parable telling us what the Kingdom of Heaven is like, in other words what it is like to experience grace coming into our world.
In the parable, three servants are given money to invest each according to his ability. Investments we know are always a risk, but we also know there is no gain unless risk is taken.
Two of the servants in the parable take the risk and invest the money given them and make a profit for their master. They are awarded and invited to share in their master’s joy.
The third servant, however, is too calculating to take risks. He is afraid because of the stories he hears about his master’s meanness and therefore does nothing with the one talent he receives. His lack of initiative and trust cause him to lose everything that he had.
Jesus gave this teaching at the end of his public ministry. He was frustrated at the hardness of heart of the leaders of the people then who had lost the tradition of generosity of spirit and compassion for ‘the little ones’.
To share in the Kingdom of Heaven which Jesus speaks of, calls us to take tremendous risk. It is to invest time and energy in pursuit of justice and love. It is to passionately commit to the cause of the poor to the extent that we feel their pain when they are ill-treated and kept on the margins of life. We share in the Kingdom when we act decisively to restore wholeness to the vulnerable.
Today, in spite of billions being spent on investments and on all kinds of developments, there is increasing poverty and hardships to the disadvantaged. Is that generosity of spirit and compassion for the ‘little ones’ evident in Trinidad and Tobago today? Is the Kingdom of Heaven any nearer now than it was in Jesus’ time?
The First Reading for today from the Book of Proverbs throws some light on the gospel passage when it describes a perfect wife as one who invested her talents and was able to “hold out her hand to the poor and opens her arms to the needy”.
The gospel invites us to trust in the Kingdom values of Jesus and to take bold initiatives in growing our talents in such a way to facilitate creative pastoral care for all God’s people.
We remember and thank God for persons who have taken risks to make our world a better place. We remember Fr Gerry Pantin CSSp who left his lucrative job and invested a great deal of time and energy in the young people of poverty stricken areas; he empowered them to believe in themselves and assisted them in tapping into their God-given talents and so helped them to be more productive citizens. Fr Gerry changed many people’s lives just by putting his talents to work.
We remember also the Eternal Light Community which continues to invest time and energy as they venture into depressed communities bringing hope and encouragement to the many who do not feel part of the ‘Body of Christ’.
We remember also the ‘ordinary folks’ like our parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles and teachers, who devote their lives to making our world a better place for us. They have all invested, trusting in the values of the Kingdom of God.
We are challenged by this gospel to be risk takers for the Kingdom. Our task is to ensure our investments are good for something; failure to make the most out of our talents will result in them being good for nothing.
Lord, we thank You for the risk takers in our lives. For environmentalists who are watchmen for the environment, challenging all to work together in looking after our common home.
Lord, forgive us for the times we give others a false impression of You. They hear You are a hard man, reaping where You have not sown. They become fearful of taking risks and trusting in themselves and so the talent with which they are blessed is hidden in the ground and as a result humanity suffers and so do they.
Bernadette Salandy is a parishioner of St Anthony’s/Nativity, Petit Valley.