Treasuring every one of God’s gifts
Pope Francis noted that the poor in spirit also “treasure what they receive” and therefore know that “no gift should go to waste”.
He then reflected at length on the actuality of this teaching of Jesus, since it runs up against much of our consumerist society that fails to appreciate the value of people and things.
“After the multiplication of the loaves and the fish, [Jesus] asks that the leftover food be gathered so that nothing would be wasted,” the Pope offered by way of example.
He offered Christians three challenges to combat the throwaway culture that predominates the world, especially in affluent societies.
Gift that we are
Pope Francis first challenged people “not to waste the gift that we are.”
He said each person is a good, independent of the gifts we have, since “every man or woman is rich not only in talents but in dignity.”
Gifts that we have
The Pope then challenged us “not to waste the gifts that we have.”
He lamented that over a third of the world’s food production goes to waste, even as many people die of hunger.
“Goods should be taken care of and shared in such a way that no one lacks what is necessary,” he said. “Rather than waste what we have, let us disseminate an ecology of justice and charity!”
Gifts of people
Pope Francis offered the third challenge “not to waste people.”
He said the throwaway culture uses people only so long as they are useful, after which the person is only a bother to society.
Those most affected by this selfish mindset are “unborn children, the elderly, the needy, and the disadvantaged.”
Examination of conscience
The Pope wrapped up his Angelus address with a series of questions we can ask ourselves to assess how we live our poverty of spirit.
“Do I know how to make room for God? Do I believe that he is my good, my true and great wealth? Do I believe that he loves me, or do I throw myself away in sadness, forgetting that I am a gift? And then – Am I careful not to waste? Am I responsible about how I use things, goods? Am I willing to share things with others? Lastly, Do I consider the weakest as precious gifts whom God asks me to care for? Do I remember the poor, those who are deprived of what is necessary?”