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Fear Undermines Talents, Says Pontiff

Urges Faithful to Share Gifts as Mary Did

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Fear is the wrong attitude when it comes to putting talents at the service of our neighbors, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope affirmed this today when he reflected on the Gospel reading from Mass before he prayed the midday Angelus with crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The reading was on the parable of the talents.

“The ‘talent’ was an ancient Roman coin of great value and precisely on account of the popularity of this parable it has become synonymous with personal gifts, which everyone is called to develop,” the Holy Father explained.

He said that “such gifts, apart from natural qualities, represent the riches that the Lord Jesus has left us as a legacy, so that we bear fruit with them: his Word, deposited in the holy Gospel; baptism, which renews us in the Holy Spirit; prayer — the ‘Our Father’ — that we address to God as sons united in the Son; his forgiveness, which he commanded to be brought to all; the sacrament of his immolated Body and his Blood that he poured out. In a word: the Kingdom of God, which is Christ himself, present and living among us.”

This is the treasure that Jesus has entrusted to his friends, the Pontiff affirmed.

And he said that “today’s parable considers the interior attitude with which this gift is accepted and valued.”

“The mistaken attitude is that of fear,” the Bishop of Rome stated. “The servant who fears his master and fears his return, hides the coin in the ground and it does not produce any fruit. This happens, for example, to those who, having received baptism, Communion, and confirmation bury such gifts beneath prejudices, a false image of God that paralyzes faith and works, so as to betray the Lord’s expectations.”

“But,” Benedict XVI continued, “the parable puts greater emphasis on the good fruits born by the disciples who, happy at the gift received, did not hide it with fear and jealously, but made it fruitful, sharing it, participating in it. Indeed, what Christ gives us is multiplied when we give it away! It is a treasure that is made to be spent, invested, shared with all, as the Apostle Paul, that great administrator of Jesus’ talents, has taught us.”

The Pope thus concluded that the central message of the parable “regards the spirit of responsibility with which the Kingdom of God is to be accepted: responsibility toward God and toward humanity.”

And he pointed to the Virgin Mary as the perfect example of one who has this responsibility as God wants.

“This attitude is perfectly incarnated in the heart of the Virgin Mary who, receiving the most precious of gifts, Jesus himself, offered him to the world with great love,” the Pontiff said. “Let us ask her to help us to be ‘good and faithful servants,’ so that one day we can take part ‘in the joy of our Lord.'”

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