By Fr. Tim Knepper, C.PP.S.
A while back, I went to my local barber for a haircut. He knew I was a Catholic priest, and so religious and theological topics came up all the time. He attended a non-denominational Protestant church, and so this was my small part in ecumenical dialogue.
One day, the subject that came up during the haircut was forgiveness. In the midst of the conversation, we arrived at a disagreement on my choice of shampoo, but more importantly, we disagreed on reconciliation. The way he described reconciliation still sticks with me. He said that God does reconcile the sinner, but we as Christians “bury our wounded.”
There is a type of burying in the Gospel this weekend. One of the workers in the parable, the third one who receives only one talent, buries the talent the master gives him. From the perspective of the master who beats him and takes the buried talent away from him, he was supposed to have made money off of the talent according to the master upon his return home.
There is something in the affirmation from the master to the first two servants, “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” that shapes our reading of the third servant as bad for having buried the talent he received. Why did he bury it? One possibility is that he wanted to avoid taking a risk, as the first two servants did.
It is not just money or the dead that get buried in our Christian lives. My barber was right, both about the shampoo and “burying our wounded.” It’s sometimes easier to bury more than just money or the dead to give off a sanitized version of our lives and our faith. It’s easier to try to show a life or faith devoid of any messiness or wounded-ness that is a part of real life. The stories of the saints sometimes have buried facts about them, because the authors thought that if people knew those “buried” facts about their lives, we might not call them saints anymore. God’s grace turns sinners into saints, no matter what we try to bury or keep buried.
Precious Blood spirituality leans into our wounded-ness and our wounds. “Burying our wounded” isn’t in line with who God calls us to be or how God calls us to treat one another or ourselves. To echo today’s reading from Proverbs, the wounds of Christ are precious, beyond the worth of pearls, and the importance of Christ’s wounds brings importance to our wounds too.
Our wounds are important enough to not be buried. Our wounded are important enough to not be buried. Through our wounds, we come closer to Christ, and we are strengthened by our God. Today, God calls us to remember the value of our wounds and our wounded and to unbury anything and anyone we would bury.
To view the full scripture reading, click here.
Fr. Tim Knepper, C.PP.S., is the parochial vicar of St. Joseph Catholic Church, Palm Bay, Fla. He is also a spiritual director.