Proverbs 31:10-13,19-20,30-31; 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6; Matthew 25:14-30
Just bury it! It seems like the most logical of the three in this parable today…all three are given something very valuable; it’s probably the reaction most of us would have in this situation. We would want to do everything to protect it and keep it safe. Yet, he’s the one that is cast into darkness; he’s the one that pays the price for doing what appears to be the best option. So, maybe we need to look at our own experiences and our own society to understand why burying it is not the best option and why it was wrong, because it’s really not about the money. None of the listeners of this story ever would have had the amount of money that Jesus was referring to in this parable. And it’s not about the gifts and talents that we so often want to attribute to this parable. It really has more to do with the beginning of the gospel and the fact that the master has trusted them with something very valuable. We all know trust is an important thing and we know what it is like when someone betrays that trust…how we are hurt and spend a great deal of time, if ever, trying to restore that trust that we break.
When I think about people today deciding to “just bury it” I can’t help but not to think about the story unfolding at Penn State the past week but also the past ten years in the Church and the people that thought burying it was the best option! We seem to think that things are more important that than trust and faith…our reputation, the institution, power, whatever it may be, and so we decide to bury it. You know, though, it is the person that buries it in today’s gospel who pays the price…cast into darkness. Paul tells us today that we could say “peace and security” all we want, but at some point it’s going to collapse around us. It won’t be sustained. All of these things we think are more important will eventually pass and we are left with trying to make sense of it and we are left trying to make sense out of our own relationship with God. Maybe burying it isn’t the answer, as a matter of fact, history has told us it’s not!
It would also be easy for us to say that that is Penn State’s problem or that’s the Church’s problem, but no, it’s our problem too. Think about how we deal with problems in our own families and community. We have a tendency to ignore the problems, write them off as being a little crazy, or just avoiding it all together and so we do the same thing, maybe not to the same severity, but at times, we bury it as well and trust is broken.
The lesson of the other two servants is that they were willing to take a risk. The disciples will be asked to take a risk in a few chapters when Jesus faces the cross and their first reaction will be to bury it as well. We don’t like to take the risk because we know it will bring about suffering and sometimes intense pain within our own lives, but as Christians, we are called to be children of the light and to bring those things into the light. Jesus assures us that if we take that responsibility and respect the trust we have been given, and even at times, take the risk, we are assured that a gift awaits us…the gift of the master’s joy.
We have the opportunity this weekend to reflect upon how we do deal with issues when they arise in our lives and do we too have the inclination to bury it. It seems easy, it even seems logical, but it is often a reaction based on fear as it was for this servant. We can do it, but know there is a price, the price of being cast into darkness. Or we can take the risk and children of the light knowing that the gift awaits us…the gift of our Master’s joy.