“His master said to him, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant.’” (Mt 25:21) That was a line from the Gospel reading from the parable of the talents on Nov. 16, the Sunday of Cardinal George’s final public Mass as archbishop of Chicago at Holy Name Cathedral. It’s a fitting line given Cardinal George’s 17 and a half years of ministry as the eighth archbishop of Chicago. News media were on hand to document the event along with many Holy Name Cathedral parishioners and visitors. During his homily, Cardinal George explored the meaning of the parable as it relates to all followers of Jesus Christ. The Gospel tells the story of investors who are also servants of the king. “The king puts them to the test to see if he can trust them with far larger amounts of money than they ever worked with before. And perhaps reward them with their own freedom,” Cardinal George explained. He gives them great gifts and then he leaves and lets them exercise their freedom. Two worked hard and doubled the wealth the king gave them. “They proved themselves trustworthy,” he said, and earned rewards with the Lord. Although it’s just a story we should heed the words too, he said. One of the investors played it too cautiously. “He lost everything. Not because he was a bad investor but because he wasn’t generous-minded. He was afraid. Paralyzed by fear,” the cardinal said. He didn’t understand the king and failed the test. “Parables always put a question to us. They involve us. That’s why they’re vital from generation to generation. The question for us, I believe is, simply: Can God trust us?” God has given us great gifts — especially the sacraments, he said. “At some point he will ask us what we have done with these gifts, that are pure gift. He has given them to us so that we might grow in holiness and in generosity toward others. But have we used the grace given us by God to grow ever closer to him and to care for those he has given us to love? Have we shared as widely as possible the gifts we have received as a kind of trust, to be used freely, to see if we are trustworthy?” That is the question for all believers — What will we tell God when he asks what we have done with his gifts? Leading up to his retirement, Cardinal George said media and others often asked him, “What do you see as your legacy after 17 and a half years of ministry as archbishop of Chicago?” “At some point Christ will question me, ‘What have you done with my people? Are they holier because of your ministry? Are they more generous, more loving toward others?’” he said. “In short, you are my legacy.” The people of the archdiocese are what he will point to when the Lord asks him what he’s done with his gift to him. He’s invested himself in the people, he said. “There are a lot of holy people in Cook and Lake counties. The sacraments are celebrated. The gospel is preached. People are gathered into communities of love so that they can transform the world by God’s love. It works.” Many attended the Mass to see Cardinal George and to be there for his last public Mass. Karen Bergstrom, a parishioner at Holy Name Cathedral for 10 years, was among those who attended. She said she hopes nothing but the best for Cardinal George. “I do wish him the best,” she said. “I know he doesn’t look very well today but I do wish him the best.” Barbara Weeks, another Holy Name parishioner, also attended the Mass to see Cardinal George, whom she has met several times during his ministry. “He’s been outstanding. I think he’s been a marvelous example for all of us. His humility. His intelligence,” she said. What does she wish him? “More than I can say, and I pray for him every day and I will continue to do so,” Weeks said.