Fr. Gerard D’Souza, OCSO
33rd Wednesday in Ordinary Time
I found the responses of the three servants in the parable to be very interesting. The first one said ‘Sir, your gold coin has earned ten additional ones.’ The second servant said ‘Your gold coin, sir, has earned five more.’ The third servant says ‘Here is your gold coin; I kept it stored away in a handkerchief.’
If you think about it, the first two servants did not hand the ten or the five additional pieces of gold to the Master. They could only report on their investments but they did not have the cash at hand. Only the third servant who had invested nothing could hand over the cash. In framing this parable Jesus shows that He is a very intelligent observer of business. The first two servants who had invested their money, in a sense, had to let go of their cash, so that it could increase and multiply. They had to lose it in order to gain more and yet this more was not in their possession, it was working for them in the market and slowly increasing its value. But first they had to give it away. They had to take the risk of letting it go. That is why they can only report the progress of the initial cash handed to them. They could not give the Master cash in hand. And He being a good business man himself understood this. He knew that in business you cannot have perfect control over cash. You have to risk it and that is okay in His eyes.
The third servant was able to hand over the cash because he did not take the risk of letting it go. He hoarded the money and as a result, it did not increase. He had perfect control over cash but it bore no fruit. Obviously the Master was not looking for perfect control. He wanted servants who were willing to risk losing their cash.
Now Jesus is aware of how money works but He is not talking of money here. He is talking about our lives. This is the initial investment that the Father has given to each of us. He is not looking for us to keep hoarding our lives and controlling them perfectly. He wants us to invest them when He calls us and sends us His inspirations and invitations to let go and trust Him with the cash of our lives. Only then can we bear fruit.
Just as money hoarded is money lost. So a life that is hoarded and squirreled away out of fear, is also a life that is lost. We might be able to admire it while it is wrapped in our handkerchief but even that will be taken away from us.