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Three small words

A successful businessman was asked the secret of his success. His reply was summed up in 3 words: and then some. The difference between average people and truly successful people is that the successful did everything that was expected of them and then some.

In the gospel, the first 2 faithful servants were given a lot of talents or money to invest, and they returned to their master the same amount and then some. The third one, however, just held on to what the master gave him and that was all. More was expected of him of course. The and-then-some rule did not play a part in his work. For him, it was just a matter of hanging on to the status quo, just playing it safe.

In biblical times a talent was a huge amount of money. These days the term has come to mean some skill or special ability we have. It can be a talent we’re born with or one we acquire by working at it. But many of us have made the best use of our talents and then some.

I remember as a young boy reading about different sports heroes. Mickey Mantle was a great hitter in baseball. But he was a great hitter and then some because he could hit just as great from the right or left side of the plate. As a youngster he worked on this. His father and grandfather would pitch to him for hours. His father was left-handed, and his grandfather was right-handed. It got so Mickey could hit both switching sides of the plate.

Booker T. Washington was a former slave and became a great American educator who was an adviser to presidents and then some. But at the age of 16, he walked from his slave home 500 miles to try enrolling in school in Virginia. He was told there was no room for him. He took janitorial jobs at the school, which impressed the faulty so much they let him enroll. He made the best of it and became a great teacher and established the Tuskegee institute In Alabama.

It says in Mark’s gospel that Jesus removed “7 demons” from our patroness St. Mary Magdalene. She must have been greatly troubled in her young life, but fell in love with Our Lord’s compassion and answered his call to be the apostle to the apostles and proclaimer of the Resurrection. 

If you think about it, the and-then-some principle was a major theme of Jesus’ preaching and mission. Jesus said I came not to abolish the laws given to Moses but to fulfill them. In the beatitudes Jesus gave us the 10 commandments and then some. Jesus calls us to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, and with all our strength and then some by loving neighbor. It’s not about loving your neighbor and tolerating your enemies; it’s about loving our enemies and praying for those who persecute you. And when your shirt is asked for, give your coat as well. We are called to be like the good Samaritan, to not only reach out to others who are hurting but to do this on an ongoing basis no matter who they are. It is about being there for others and then some with God’s love and compassion. Love one another, but it may necessary to lay down one’s life for another as he did.

The good news is Jesus isn’t looking for perfect disciples who have easy lives without any challenges, physical or mental. As matter of fact, those of us who live through life's trials can grow the most in their faith. We can grow in our relationship with God much more by doing it wrong at first, then by doing it right. Those of us who keep the faith through trial, who fall and get up, have been responsible servants and will share the masters joy and then some.

Sometimes patience and perseverance are necessary. Linda Quinlivan is a lady who came to us about a year ago with a strong desire to be Catholic. We welcomed her and Linda grew in her faith with the hope of being initiated this past Easter. Then, the pandemic took care of that. But her patience has paid off as she will be initiated today at 11am Mass. What a great witness and then some.

Along with Linda we will soon all share the masters joy in the Eucharist, the bread of life. The Eucharist sustains us for the journey so that we do not just accept the status quo, but live out our lives with faith, hope, and charity and then some.

-Deacon Carl Toomey