Reflection by Rev. Leonard N. Peterson
Ronald Wayne would draw personal meaning from today’s parable. Who is he? Ronald Wayne is the little known third Apple founder who sold his 10% stake for $800. Apple shares hit an historic $1 trillion market cap value last August. Owning 10% of Apple right now sounds like a dream. But Mr. Wayne knows what it’s like to watch that opportunity slip away.
Wayne joined Apple co-founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, who were 21 and 25 at the time, to provide the new company with so-called “adult supervision” and to oversee mechanical engineering and documentation in exchange for a 10% stake in the business. While both Jobs and Wozniak were young and broke, Wayne had assets, including a house, and feared that the financial burden would fall on him if the deal ever went south. So after spending a mere 12 days with Wozniak and Jobs, Wayne had his name taken off the contract and sold his shares back to the cofounders. Today a 10% stake in Apple would be worth $95 billion. It would make Wayne one of the richest people in the world. Google the rest of his story and discover what he thinks of his decision.
If He were preaching in person today, I believe Jesus would have used this story of Mr. Wayne in a retelling of His original parable. We read there about the three reactions that the servants had to the gifts given them by the “man going on a journey.” How we pity servant number 3 for his foolish choice. Talk about the need in life to balance prudence with wisdom! But the parable also stresses the importance of using one’s gifts and talents to serve others, especially the poor.
This Sunday just happens to be World Day of the Poor in our Church calendar. It is the fourth one of these “Days” having been established by Pope Francis in 2017. Here are some of the thoughts in Pope Francis’ inaugural Message given at that time and still relevant:
“Over these 2,000 years, how many pages of history have been written by Christians who, in utter simplicity and humility, and with generous and creative charity, have served their poorest brothers and sisters. The most outstanding example is that of Francis of Assisi
…He was not satisfied to embrace lepers and give them alms, but chose to go to Gubbio to stay with them. We may think of the poor simply as the beneficiaries of our occasional volunteer work, or impromptu acts of generosity that appease our conscience. However good and useful such acts may be for making us sensitive to people’s needs…they ought to lead to a true encounter with the poor and a sharing that becomes a way of life.
…The Body of Christ, broken in the Sacred Liturgy, can be seen, through charity and sharing, in the faces and persons of the most vulnerable of our brothers and sisters.
…Saint John Chrysostom’s admonition remains ever timely: ‘If you want to honor the body of Christ, do not scorn it when we see it is naked; do not honor the Eucharistic Christ with silk vestments, and then, leaving the church, neglect the other Christ suffering from cold and nakedness.’”
God love you and give you His peace!