“Look, brother and sister, the poor are at the center of the Gospel,” he said, “it is Jesus who taught us to speak to the poor, it is Jesus who came for the poor. Reach out your hand to the poor. You have received many things, and you let your brother, your sister, die of hunger?”
The pope urged pilgrims present in St. Peter’s Square, as well as those following the Angelus through the media, to repeat the theme of this year’s World Day of the Poor in their hearts: “Stretch out your hand to the poor.”
“And Jesus tells us something else: ‘You know, I am the poor person. I am the poor,’” the pope reflected.
In his address, the pope meditated on Sunday’s Gospel reading, Matthew 25:14-30, known as the Parable of the Talents, in which a master entrusts wealth to his servants according to their abilities. He said that the Lord also entrusts us with his gifts according to our capacities.
The pope noted that the first two servants presented the master with a profit, but the third hid his talent. He then tried to justify his risk-averse behavior to his master.
Pope Francis said: “He defends his laziness by accusing his master of being ‘hard.’ This is an attitude that we have too: we defend ourselves, many times, by accusing others. But they are not at fault: the fault is ours; the flaw is ours.”
The pope suggested that the parable applied to every human being, but especially to Christians.
“We have all received from God a ‘patrimony’ as human beings, a human richness, whatever it may be. And as disciples of Christ we have also received the faith, the Gospel, the Holy Spirit, the Sacraments, and so many other things,” he said.
“These gifts need to be used to do good, to do good in this life, in service to God and to our brothers and sisters. And today the Church tells you, she tells us: ‘Use what God has given you and look at the poor. Look: there are so many of them; even in our cities, in the center of our city, there are many. Do good!’”
He said that Christians should learn how to reach out to the poor from the Virgin Mary, who received the gift of Jesus himself and gave Him to the world.