On the Parable of the Talents

«Jesus does not ask us to preserve His Grace in a safe»

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Here is the translation of the address given by Pope Francis before and after the recitation of the Angelus today.

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Dear brothers and sisters,

This Sunday’s Gospel is the parable of the talents, taken from Saint Matthew (25, 14-30). It tells the story of a man who, before leaving for a trip, calls his servants and entrusts them with his wealth in talents, ancient coins of great value. That master entrusts five talents to the first servant, to the second two, and the third one. During the absence of the master, the three servants must make this fortune fruitful. The first and the second servant doubled each of their starting capital; the third, however, for fear of losing everything, buried the talent he received in a hole. Upon the master’s return, the first two receive praise and a reward, while the third who only returns the coin received, is scolded and punished.

The meaning of this is very clear. The man of the parable represents Jesus, we are the servants and the talents are the wealth the Lord entrusts to us. What is this wealth? His Word, the Eucharist, faith in the Heavenly Father, His forgiveness, so many things. In short, his most precious goods. This is the wealth that he entrusts to us. Not just to guard it, but to make it grow. While in the common language, the word “talent” refers to a distinct individual talent – for example, in music, in sports, etc. – , in the parable, the talents represent the goods of the Lord, that He entrusts to us so that we make them fruitful. The hole dug in the ground by the “wicked and lazy servant” (v.26) shows the fear of risk that blocks the creativity and fruitfulness of love.  Jesus does not ask us to preserve His Grace in a safe. Jesus does not ask us this! He wants us to use it for the benefit of others and that’s how it grows. It’s as if He tells us: “Here is my mercy, my tenderness, my forgiveness: take it and use it.”And what have we done? Who have we “infected” with our faith? How many people have we encouraged with our hope? How much love have we shared with our neighbor? They are questions that do us well to ask.

Any environment, even the most distant and impractical, can become a place where talents can bear fruit. There are no situations or places that are closed to the Christian presence and witness. The witness that Jesus asks us is not closed, its open, it depends on us.

This parable urges us to not hide our faith and our belonging to Christ, to not bury the Word of the Gospel, but to make it circulate in our life, in our relationships, in our concrete situations, as a power that undermines, that purifies, that renews. Likewise forgiveness, which the Lord gives us especially in the Sacrament of Reconciliation: let us not close it in ourselves, but rather let it unleash its power, that breaks down those walls that our selfishness has built up, that it makes us take the first steps in relationships that are stuck, to resume dialogue where there is no more communication. Make these talents, these gifts that the Lord has entrusted to us be given to others, so that they grow and bear fruit with our witness. Today, it would be a beautiful gesture if each one of you would open the Gospel at home. The Gospel of St. Matthew 25, 14-30. Read this and meditate it. My talents, my riches, all that God has given to me spiritually, the Word of God; how do I make this grow in others? Or do I just preserve it in a safe?

The Lord does not give everyone the same things and in the same way: He knows us personally and entrusts us with what is right for us; but He has the same, immense trust in us. God trusts us, God has hope in us! And this is the same for everyone. Do not disappoint Him! Do not be fooled by fear, but reciprocate trust with trust! The Virgin Mary embodies this attitude in the most beautiful and fullest way. She received and accepted the greatest gift: Jesus, and in turn has offered Him to humanity with a generous heart. We ask Her to help us to be “good and faithful servants”, to participate “in the joy of our Lord.”

After the recitation of the Angelus, the Pope said the following:

Dear brothers and sisters,

In these days in Rome there have been very strong tensions between residents and immigrants. These are events that have happened in various European cities, especially in outlying neighborhoods marked by other hardships. I invite the institutions, at all levels, to take as a priority that which now constitutes a social emergency and that, if not addressed promptly and in an adequate way, risks becoming worse. The Christian community is committed to this in a concrete way, so that there may be an encounter and not confrontation. Citizens and immigrants, with the representatives of institutions, can meet each other, even in a room in the parish, to talk together about the situation.

The important thing is to not give in to the temptation of confrontation, to reject all violence. It is possible to dialogue, to listen, to plan together, And in this way overcome suspicion and prejudice and build a more secure, peaceful and inclusive coexistence.

Today is the “World Day of Road Victims”. We remember in our prayers those who have lost their lives, hope for a constant commitment in the prevention of road accidents, as well as the prudent and respective behavior towards the law by motorists.

I greet you, families, parishes, associations and faithful, who have come from Italy and from so many parts of the world. In particular, I greet the pilgrims who have come from Murcia (Spain), Cagliari, Teramo, Gubbio and Lissone; the Amadeus di Villafranca choir, the “Accompagnatori Santuari Mariani nel Mondo” association, and the youth who have received Confirmation from Monte San Savino and from Torano Nuovo. I greet the employees of the Fatebenefratelli Hospital of Rome and the group of musicians from the Opera House of Rome.

And do not forget: today at home, open the Gospel of St. Matthew, Chapter 25, verse 14. Read it and ask yourself those questions.

To all I wish a good Sunday. Please, do not forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye.

[Translation by Junno Arocho Esteves]
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