‘Rejoice in every good deed,’ and ‘use earthly goods wisely’

CASTEL GANDOFLO, ITALY (ZENIT) — Before and after praying the midday Angelus with those gathered at the papal summer residence in Castel Gandolfo Oct. 1, Pope Benedict XVI used the Sunday readings to urge Catholics to be supportive of the good works done by others, and to remind the faithful that wealth, while not intrinsically evil, must b obtained and honestly and used to promote the common good.

“The Gospel of this Sunday presents one of those episodes of the life of Christ that, although, reported ‘in passing,’ so to speak, contain a profound meaning (cf. Mark 9:38-41). It tells that someone, who was not one of Jesus’ followers, cast out demons in Jesus’ name. The Apostle John, young and zealous as he was, wanted to stop him but Jesus did not permit it; on the contrary, He takes the occasion to teach His disciples that God can do good and even wondrous things outside of their circle, and that it is possible to work together in the cause of the Kingdom of God in different ways, even offering a simple glass of water to a missionary (9:41).

“St. Augustine writes in this regard: ‘Just as in the Catholica,’ that is in the Church, ‘we can find that which is not Catholic, so also outside of the Catholica there can be something Catholic’ (“On Baptism Against the Donatists,” PL 43, VII, 39, 77). For this reason the members of the Church must not be jealous but rejoice if someone outside the community does something good in Christ’s name, as long as he does it with the right intention and with respect. It can also occur that in the Church herself sometimes there is a failure to value and to appreciate, in a spirit of profound communion, the good things done by various ecclesial groups. We must all, however, be always able to appreciate and esteem each other, praising the Lord for the infinite ‘imagination’ with which He works in the Church and in the world.

“In today’s liturgy there also echoes the Apostle James’ invective against the dishonest rich, who place their trust in the security of wealth gained unjustly (cf. James 5:1-6). In this connection Caesarius of Arles states: ‘While riches cannot harm a good man because they make him merciful, they cannot help a bad man inasmuch as he holds on to them greedily or wastes them in dissipation’ (Sermons 35, 4). The Apostle James’ words, while they warn against the vain pursuit of material goods, constitute a powerful call to use them with a view to solidarity and the common good, acting always with equity and morality at all levels.


“Dear friends, through the intercession of Mary Most Holy, let us pray that we might know how to rejoice in every good deed and initiative, without envy and jealousy, and to use earthly goods wisely in the continuous pursuit of eternal goods.”