Presiding over the recitation of the Sunday Angelus, Pope Benedict XVI recalled the Sunday readings which invite the faithful to be vigilant and dutiful while waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus at the end of time. The Pontiff also pointed out that the readings teach us our responsibility to God and humanity.
In the Gospel, St. Matthew narrates the well-known parable of the talents. The "talent" was an ancient Roman coin of great value. The Holy Father explained to his audience today that the main character of the parable, "a man who was going on a journey," represents Christ himself and the servants are his disciples. The talents represent the gifts that God entrusts them: his Word, deposited in the Holy Gospels; Baptism, which renews Christians in the Holy Spirit; prayer, the "Our Father," which we elevate to God as sons and daughters united in the Son; and forgiveness, the sacrament of his immolated Body and his spilt blood. "These are the treasures that Jesus entrusted to his friends, at the end of his brief time of earth," the Pope explained.
He went on to describe the actions of the servants in the parable. First, he discussed the servant who is afraid of his master. This servant fears his master’s return, buries the money and produces no fruit. "This happens, for example, to those who having received Baptism, the Eucharist and Confirmation hide their gifts under a false image of God, which paralyzes faith and works," the Pontiff said.
However, Benedict XVI went on to note, the parable puts more emphasis on the good fruits born of the disciples, who, happy for gifts received, do not hide them out of fear and jealousy. They use and share them. "That which Christ has given us multiplies when shared!"
We are responsible for sharing what God has given us, the Pontiff continued. The central message of the reading, "concerns the spirit of responsibility to uphold the Kingdom of God: the responsibility towards God and humanity."
The Holy Father concluded, "The heart of the Virgin Mary incarnates perfectly this attitude, which, having received the most precious of gifts, Jesus himself, offers him to the world out of immense love. Let us ask her to help us be ‘good and faithful servants’ so that one day we may take part in the ‘joy of our Lord’."
After the Marian prayer of the Angelus, Benedict XVI addressed English-speaking pilgrims to pray for those who have died in car accidents. "We pray for their eternal rest and for the consolation of their families who grieve their loss."
"Dear brothers and sisters, I implore everyone - drivers, passengers and pedestrians - to heed carefully the words of Saint Paul in the Liturgy of the Word today: ‘stay sober and alert.’ Our behavior on the roads should be characterized by responsibility, consideration and a respect for others. May the Virgin Mary lead us safely along streets and highways throughout the world," the Holy Father concluded.