(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 19.11.2023).- At midday on Sunday, November 19, after the Mass celebrated by the Pope in the Vatican Basilica, some 20,000 people gathered in Saint Peter’s Square to listen to his address and to pray the traditional Sunday Angelus with him.
Here is the Holy Father’s address — translated from the Italian original into English by the Holy See –, which focused on the Gospel of the 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time.
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Today’s Gospel presents us the parable of the talents (cf. Matthew 25:14-30). A master departs on a journey and entrusts his talents, or rather his possessions, his “capital,” to his servants: talents were a monetary unit. He distributes them according to the abilities of each one. On his return, he asks for an account of what they have done. Two of them have doubled what they received, and the lord praises them, while the third, out of fear, buried his talent and can only return it, the reason for which he receives a severe rebuke. Looking at this parable, we can learn two different ways of approaching God.
[First way: that of one who is incapable of believing and the Lord’s goodness]
The first way is that of the one who buries the talent he has received, who cannot see the riches God has given him: he trusts neither his master nor himself. In fact, he says to his master: “Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not winnow” (v. 24). He is afraid of him. He does not see the esteem, he does not see the trust that the lord places in him, but sees only the actions of a master who demands more than he gives, of a judge. This is his image of God: he cannot believe in His goodness; he cannot believe in the Lord’s goodness towards him. That is why he gets stuck and does not allow himself to be involved in the mission he has received.
[Second way: to trust in God]
We then see this second way, in the other two protagonists, who repay their lord’s trust by in turn trusting in him. These two invest everything they have received, even though they do not know at the outset if everything will go well: they study, they see the possibilities, and prudently seek out the best; they accept the risk and put themselves on the line. They trust, they study and they risk. Thus, they have the courage to act freely, creatively, generating new wealth (cf. vv. 20-23).
Brothers and sisters, this is the crossroads we face with God: fear or trust. Either you are afraid before God, or you trust in the Lord. And we, like the protagonists of the parable — all of us — have received talents, all of us, far more precious than money. But much of how we invest them depends on our trust in the Lord, which frees our hearts, makes us active and creative in goodness. Do not forget this: trust frees, always; fear paralyses. Remember: fear paralyses, trust liberates. This also applies to the education of children.
And let us ask ourselves: do I believe that God is the Father and entrusts gifts to me because He trusts me? And do I trust in Him to the point of putting myself on the line, even when the results are neither certain nor to be taken for granted? Am I able to say every day in prayer, “Lord, I trust in You, give me the strength to keep going; I trust in You, in the things You have given me: let me know how to carry them forward.”
Finally, also as Church: do we cultivate a climate of trust, of mutual esteem in our environments, that helps us to move forward together, that unlocks people and stimulates the creativity of love in everyone? Let us think about it.
And may the Virgin Mary help us to overcome fear — never be afraid of God! Awe, yes; fear, no — and to trust the Lord.