Are you Afraid of God? If So, You don't Really Know Who He Is..............
Pope Francis on Sunday cautioned against having a “mistaken” idea of God as harsh and punishing, saying this fear will end up paralyzing us and preventing us from doing good, rather than spreading his love and mercy.
In his speech, the Pope turned to the day's Gospel reading from Matthew, which recounts the parable of the talents. In the passage, a master goes on a long trip and entrusts three servants with different talents, but when he returns, only two have gained profit from it, while the third buried his out of fear. This parable makes us understand how important it is to have a true idea of God, Francis said, noting that the third servant didn't really trust his master, but but feared him, and this fear prevented him from acting.
We shouldn't think that God is “an evil, harsh and severe master who wants to punish us,” the Pope said, explaining that if we have this “mistaken image of God, then our lives cannot be fruitful, because we will live in fear and this will not lead us to anything constructive.”
Fear paralyzes us and so is self-destructive. So when faced with the unfaithful servant in this parable, each of us is called to reflect on what our idea of God really is. Turning to the Old Testament, Francis noted how in Exodus God is described as “merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness.” Even in the New Testament, Jesus always demonstrated that God is not “a severe and intolerant master,” but a father full of “love and tenderness, a father full of goodness,” because of this, “we can and must have immense trust in him.”
Jesus shows us his generosity in various ways, through his words, actions, and his welcome towards all, especially toward sinners and the poor and vulnerable. But also with his admonishments, “which show his interest in us so that we do not waste our lives uselessly.” This is a sign of the great esteem God has for us, and having this knowledge ought to help us to take responsibility for our every action.
Concluding, Pope Francis said parable invites us to have “a personal responsibility and fidelity which become capable of continually placing ourselves on new roads, without burying the talent, which is are the gifts that God has entrusted to us and of which he will ask us to account for.”