VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Jesus calls on Christians to transform their wealth into a tool of brotherhood and solidarity instead of a corrupt means to divide and discriminate, Pope Francis said.
While “wealth can lead to walls being erected, to divisions and to discrimination,” Christ calls on his followers to “reverse course” and learn how to “transform goods and riches into relationships because people are worth more than things and count more than the riches possessed,” the pope said Sept. 22 during his Sunday Angelus address.
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“In life,” he said, “it is not those who have so many riches who bear fruit, but those who create and keep alive so many bonds, so many relationships, so many friendships through the different ‘riches,’ that is, the different gifts God has bestowed upon them.”
In his talk, the pope reflected on the day’s Gospel reading in which Jesus tells the parable of a dishonest steward who, upon being fired for squandering his master’s property, used his cunning to gain favor with those in debt with his master.
“If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?” Jesus asks.
The purpose of Jesus’ parable, the pope explained, was not to praise the steward’s use of fraud to secure his future but to teach his followers that building relationships with others is more important than amassing wealth.
“If we are able to transform riches into instruments of fraternity and solidarity,” the pope said, “not only will there be God, but also those with whom we have shared by managing well what the Lord has placed in our hands.”
Like the steward who helped those who owed debts to his master, Pope Francis said that Christians are given the assurance by Jesus that “there is always time to heal the evil done” by doing good to others.
“In doing so,” the pope said, “we will be praised by the Lord because we have acted prudently, that is, with the wisdom of those who recognize themselves as children of God and put themselves at stake for the kingdom of heaven.
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