Pope Benedict XVI used his Sunday Angelus address Nov. 13 to remind people that God has given everyone both talents and a mission in life.
“God calls all men to life and bestows him with talents, while entrusting him with a mission to accomplish,” said the Pope from the window of his Apostolic Palace to the crowds gathered below in St. Peter’s Square.
“It would be foolish to think that these gifts are due to us, just as our failing to use them would be a dereliction of the goal of our very existence.”
The Pope drew his observations from Sunday’s Gospel passage from St. Matthew in which Jesus tells the parable of the master who goes on a long journey and gives talents to three servants. Upon his return, two have invested their talents and provide an enhanced return while the other does not and is condemned as “wicked and slothful.”
Pope Benedict said the passage should remind everybody of the “transience of earthy existence,” given that “our final destiny” and “meaning of life” is “death followed by Final Judgment.”
The third servant lost sight of this, he said, and “behaved as if his master would not return, as if there was not a day when he would ask him to account for his activities.”
To refuse to use our gifts or not embarking on our mission “would be a dereliction of the purpose of their (our talents’) existence.”
Given that the apostle St. Paul reminds us that the Lord will call us to account “like a thief in the night,” the Pope advised that we should live “in an attitude of watchfulness,” waiting for the second coming of Christ “in the constant memory of his first coming.”
The Pope then quoted from his sixth- and seventh-century predecessor, Pope Gregory the Great, who said that the primary virtue that needs to be preserved and enhanced throughout life is love — both love of friends and enemies.
“If one lacks this virtue, he loses all good that he possessed; he is deprived of the talent he received and is thrown out, in darkness,” warned Pope Gregory.
Pope Benedict said that “only by practicing charity can we also take part the joy of Our Lord,” adding that “the Virgin Mary is both an active and joyful teacher supervising our path to union with God.”
Summing up his thoughts in his address to English-speaking pilgrims after the Angelus, the Pope said that the words of Sunday’s Gospel call us to “an ever deeper conversion of mind and heart and a more effective solidarity in the service of all our brothers and sisters.
“Upon you and your families I invoke the Lord’s blessings of wisdom, joy and peace!”