Faith requires risks, helping others, Pope says at Mass

Being faithful to God means taking the risk of setting aside one’s own needs and plans in order to serve others, Pope Francis said, celebrating Mass for the World Day of the Poor.

Nov 21, 2020

By Carol Glatz
Being faithful to God means taking the risk of setting aside one’s own needs and plans in order to serve others, Pope Francis said, celebrating Mass for the World Day of the Poor.

“Today, in these times of uncertainty, in these times of instability, let us not waste our lives thinking only of ourselves, indifferent to others or deluding ourselves into thinking, ‘peace and security!”’ the Pope said in his homily Nov 15. Everyone is invited to “look reality in the face and to avoid the infection of indifference,” he said.

In his homily, the Pope reflected on Jesus’ parable of the talents, which describes a rich man who entrusts his property to three of his servants. The first two doubled the amount entrusted to them while the third servant hid his sum in a hole to avoid any risks and keep it safe from thieves. However, it bore no fruit and his master rebuked him, calling him “wicked and lazy,” and throwing him out of the house.

The Pope said the parable describes how everyone has received from God a precious “patrimony,” present in one’s abilities, talents and gifts. Christians are called to use these gifts to do good and serve God by serving others, he said.

The Pope warned against forgetting or neglecting the talents one possesses, especially by constantly complaining about the things one lacks or needs.

In the Gospel, good servants are those who take risks, he said. “They  are not fearful and overcautious, they do not cling to what they possess, but put it to good use.”

“There is no faithfulness without risk,” he said, because being faithful means putting one’s life in God’s hands and “letting our carefully laid plans be disrupted by our need to serve.”

“Those who take care of themselves to avoid risk begin in their lives a process of mummification of their souls,” he said.

Faith is not just about following rules, the Pope said. The third servant did nothing wrong, “but he did nothing good either. He preferred to sin by omission rather than to risk making a mistake. He was not faithful to God, who spends freely, and he made his offence even worse by returning the gift he had received.”

A life is empty when it is only focused on one’s own needs and is “blind to the needs of others,” the Pope said.

The poor “help us become rich in love,” he said. “For the worst kind of poverty needing to be combatted is our poverty of love.”

With the season of Christmas approaching, Francis urged people to reevaluate the way they live the holiday season.

“How often do we hear people ask, ‘What can I buy? What more can I have? I must go shopping.’ Let us use different words, ‘What can I give to others?’ in order to be like Jesus, who gave of himself and was born in a manger.” ––CNS

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