Pope Francis called on faithful to “never be afraid to look to the final judgment” but to look at it as a push to live better lives during his weekly General Audience. Thousands flocked to St. Peter’s Square to listen to the Pope’s continuing Year of Faith catechesis on the Creed.
Focusing on Jesus’ discourse on the end of times in St. Matthew’s Gospel, the Holy Father first reflected on the parable of the ten virgins, five of whom were wise in having oil for their lamps awaiting the bridegroom, while the other five were foolish for not having any oil. The parable, he said, was a call to be vigilant in which we need to keep lit the lamps of the faith, hope and charity.
“What is asked of us,” he said, “is to be prepared for this encounter – prepared for an encounter, for a beautiful encounter, the encounter with Jesus – which means being able to see the signs of his presence, to keep alive our faith through prayer, with the sacraments, to be vigilant in order not to sleep, not to forget God.”
“The Christian life asleep is a sad life, it isn’t a happy life. The Christian must be happy, have the joy of Jesus. Let’s not fall asleep!”
The Holy Father went on to speak on the second parable, that of the master who gives talents, or ancient coins, to three servants and renders an account of what they had done with those talents. Focusing on the third servant who buried his talent rather than invest and multiply, the Pope called on Christians to not close in on themselves.
“A Christian who closes in on himself, who hides everything that the Lord has given him as a Christian that is…he isn’t a Christian!,” the Pope exclaimed.
“He is a Christian that does not thank God for all that he has given him! This tells us that the time of waiting for the Lord’s return is the time of action, – we are in the time of action – the time in which to put to use the gifts of God not for ourselves, but for Him, for the Church, for others, the time during which always to try to increase the good in the world.”
“And especially now,” the Pope continued, “in this time of crisis, it is important not to close in upon oneself, burying one’s talent, one’s own spiritual, intellectual, material riches, everything that the Lord has given us, but to open oneself, to be in solidarity, to be attentive to the other.”
The 76 year old Pontiff directed his words to the youth present at the General Audience, exhorting them to not bury their talents, but to “bet on big ideals, those ideals that enlarge the heart, those ideals that will make your talents fruitful.”
Concluding his discourse on the final judgement, the Holy Father related St. Matthew’s image of the shepherd separating sheep from goats: those on the right who helped their neighbor as opposed to those on the left who did not.
“This tells us that we will be judged by God on charity, on how we loved him in our brothers, especially the weakest and neediest,” Pope Francis said.
The Holy Father called on faithful to look at the final judgement not with fear, but as an impetus to live better lives.
“God gives us with mercy and patience this time so that we may learn every day to recognize him in the poor and in the little ones, may we strive for good and we are vigilant in prayer and love.”
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For the full text of the Holy Father’s General Audience address, go to: