Reflection for Saturday, August 28, 2021: 21st Week of Ordinary Time.

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Santos, Nicky, S.J.
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|As I reflected on today's gospel reading my attention was drawn to the servant who had been entrusted with one talent. This servant perceived the master as a demanding person, who harvested where he did not plant and gathered where he did not scatter. Thus, out of fear he hid the talent. The master's response of taking away the talent the servant had been given and throwing him into the darkness outside does seem harsh and we can be sympathetic to the cause of the servant. After all, would not a poor person with a little money more easily hide this money in a mattress or, as in the parable, a hole in the ground, rather than invest it in the stock market? But this, of course, would be to miss the point.|The parable, in fact, presents the hearers with two perceptions of the master. One, where the master is perceived to be caring, loving, and forgiving and the other where the master is perceived as harsh and exacting and quick to judgement. If the master represents God, then the hearers (us) are invited to ask ourselves which perception of God we believe in. If we perceive God as being harsh and exacting, we act out of fear and our creativity is curtailed. We are more concerned about following the law and our individual salvation and are quick to judge ourselves and others. On the other hand, if we perceive God as being caring, loving, and forgiving, then we act of love and our creativity is enhanced.|We emulate a caring, loving and forgiving God by choosing to be caring, loving, and forgiving people especially concerned about the least among us (something that the remainder of chapter 25 alludes to). In so doing, we make more visibly present, and in fact, multiply, God's care, love, and forgiveness that is revealed to us in Jesus. Unfortunately, often in our lives, we choose to believe in a God who is harsh and exacting and judgmental.|As we celebrate the memorial of Saint Augustine today, may we be strengthened through the intercession of Saint Augustine, to choose the God that Jesus reveals to us: a God of care, a God of love, a God of mercy, a God who is concerned about the least among us and who invites us to be likewise.
University Ministry, Creighton University.
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