33rd Sunday (Note & Bulletin)

Camp Ekon is unique among summer camps in Ontario. Fr Massie, who had been at Lourdes some years ago, founded it and had a vision for the camp that focused on the staff. Most summer camps focus on the children who will attend but Fr Massie saw the camp as offering an opportunity to develop leadership among young people. With regards to this vision, I remember one staff member in particular. After being a camper for many years, the time came for him to apply to become a counselor. In his interview he was so nervous that he literally could not articulate a full word. Thirty seconds passed with his ―false starts‖ in trying to answer our first question. We all felt that we needed to help him out so we asked a new question, which could only get him talking. We decided to hire him so that the camp staff training might improve his confidence. We thought he was an amazing young man and we wanted to help him in a way in which he could share his many gifts with others. After three years on staff, he is almost unrecognizable – he leads activities involving 100 children; he wears costumes and acts foolishly to entertain the campers; he shares his humour with the staff; and, this summer, he acted with great confidence to care for a camper who had a severe allergic reaction to a bug bite. He’s a success story for Ekon because he came to know two things: he has gifts and is no longer afraid to share them. In this week’s Gospel, these are the two interconnected truths that the servant with one talent faced and denied.

The question for us is why did the servant with one talent act in the way he did? We heard the reason he gave: ―Master, I knew that you were a harsh man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter seed; so I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.‖ The answer to our question seems clear – his master was harsh so he didn’t want to get in trouble. The power of his reasonable fear rests on two unreasonable lies. And these unreasonable lies also greatly weigh us down in living our lives as God wills. The first lie must be centered on the image of God. Despite the words we say, many of us still have a deep fear of God. We may say that ―God is love‖ but we feel in our hearts that God is more like the unforgiving judge who is intolerant of mistakes and gives no breaks. And so we live lives of fear, not wanting to make mistakes in order to avoid God’s wrath and the ridicule or criticism of others. We live lives that are half-lived. We can be like the turtle – everything is hidden beneath the hard shell, that is, our hearts are covered and protected. This is the second lie: we have to hide from God and others because we’re not so impressive. If, however, the love of God does not remain a mere idea, but has been personally written on our hearts, we become free because we know we are loved. We can embrace who God has created us to be, who God dreams and desires us to be. We can understand to an extent how precious we are in God’s eyes – was he not born in poverty to be with us and did he not go to the Cross to proclaim his love? If God has done all this, then why have fear like the servant with one talent? Why live a half-life? Instead of hiding from God and others, let us open our hearts to his redeeming love. Let us live with an expanding joy rather than a limiting fear. As St Paul writes: ―You are children of light and children of the day. In Church we are loved and so we are free. We are free and so we can be bold in our love.

God Bless & Take Care!
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