This morning hosts crickets and quiet; there is a tenderness in emerging color and an honesty in the changes. This morning I heard a Gospel I have heard so many times before, and this time, the homilist opened a new path for hearing and seeing the Gospel. This morning, I was listening.
There are Gospel readings that invite disagreement, even dissent. My mom, for instance, never agreed with the one about turning your back on your family or the one about the buried talents. This one was about the steward threatened with losing his job. In a clever twist, he salvages the situation by cutting the promissory notes owed to the boss by a percentage. He created an indebtedness to himself and so longer term opportiities for business. Always before, I heard the final lines about dishonesty and trustworthiness. Today, with help, I was able to hear it as a call to be the best you can be. For years, I had missed the part of the story that shows the steward was actually rewarded for using his skills and his dishonesty to advantage. He was rewarded and did not lose the job.
Taking that step back now, realizing that part of the message can be about using your gift, whatever it is, for the good of self and others is a function of the Christian message. It made so much sense on two levels: first, each of us are gifted. Second, sometimes we need help to begin to understand what that means. Catholicism and the community within it makes that possible: it is a collective as well as an individual and personal experience. It may not happen every week, but communal celebration can offer the challenge and possibility of understanding self and others so much more fully.
In other ways, it is part of the process of holding one another accountable to share those insights. Thinking about it like this, learning that no one of us is perfect or whole, means thinking that each of us must be striving to be the best we can be, most faithful to sharing our gifts and using them for the benefit of one another. For that to happen, communication with one another would be essential. Communication in the deepest, most honest sense of the word. It would mean sharing the good moments, inquiring in the painful, supporting in the confusion, wondering in the opaque. Most of all, it means stepping away from the idea that the idea that it is all about self, about gratification, comfort and ease.
It means looking at the reality of human beings and addressing that with a clear sense of self-understanding and openness to others. Most of all, it is all about what it means to be human and to be alive. Choosing to hear the Gospel, to begin to understand, to realize limits and recognize resonance are key factors in what it means to be a Catholic. Most of all, it is all about growing. Everyday.