Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Beatitudes are "the portrait of Jesus", the basis of his "new teaching", "the road that indicates God as a response to the desire for happiness inherent in man, and they perfect the commandments of the Covenant". The Church was once again the focus of Pope Francis General Audience catechesis which resumed today after the break of July, in Paul VI Hall. The Pope walked down through the aisle pausing for a long time to greet those present, kissing babies and exchanging his beretta with those brought for him by faithful.
"In previous catechesis - he said - we have seen how the Church is a people, a people prepared with patience and love by God, and to which we are all called to belong. Today I would like to highlight the innovation that characterizes these people, there is an innovation that characterizes it: it's really a new people, which is based on the new covenant, established by the Lord Jesus through the gift of his life. This newness does not negate the previous path nor is it opposed to it, rather it is a continuation, it brings it o fulfilment".
A "very significant figure acts as a "bridge between the Old and the New Testament", John the Baptist, the "precursor", "the one who prepares the coming of the Lord", the "witness, who enables us to recognize in Jesus He who comes from above, to forgive our sins and make His people His bride, the first fruits of the new humanity. As a "precursor" and "witness," John the Baptist plays a central role in all of Scripture, as he acts as a bridge between the promise of the Old Testament and its fulfillment, between the prophecies and their fulfillment in Jesus Christ. Through his witness John shows us Jesus and invites us to follow Him, and tells us in no uncertain terms this requires humility, repentance and conversion: it is an invitation to humility, repentance and conversion".
"Just as Moses had entered into a Covenant with God by virtue of the law received on Sinai, Jesus, from a hill by Lake Galilee, delivered a new teaching to his disciples and the crowd which begins with the Beatitudes. Moses gives the law in Sinai and Jesus, the new Moses, gives the Law on that mountain, on the shore of Lake Galilee. The Beatitudes are the path that God indicates as a response to the desire for happiness inherent in man, and to perfect the commandments of the Covenant. We are used to learning the Ten Commandments off by heart; you certainly all know them. You learned them at Catechesis, but we are not used to learning the Beatitudes off by heart. Instead, let us try to remember them and to impress on our hearts".
Pope Francis then recited the Beatitudes, inviting those present to repeat them and then gave everyone "some homework: take the Gospel, a small one that you should always carry with you, and in the gospel of Matthew chapter 5 you will fine the Beatitudes. Read them! These words contain the whole newness brought by Christ: in fact, the Beatitudes are the portrait of Jesus, his way of life, and the way to true happiness, that we too can walk with the grace that Jesus gifts us".
"In addition to the new law, Jesus gives also us the 'protocol' on which we shall be judged: it is what we find in the twenty-fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew, where there is a protocol, the questions that we will be asked on Judgment Day. We will not be able to depend on titles, credits nor privileges. The Lord will recognize us if we in turn will have recognized Him in the poor, the hungry, the indigent and marginalized, and only in who is suffering ... This is one of the fundamental criteria of verification of our Christian life, on which Jesus invites us to measure ourselves every day. I read the Beatitudes and reflect on how my life Christian should be and then I examine my conscience with this chapter of Matthew 25 ... every day I did this, I did this, I did this ... This is good for us! These things are simple but practical".
"The New Covenant - said the Pope - consists precisely in this: in recognizing ourselves in Christ, surrounded by God's mercy and compassion. This is what fills our hearts with joy, and makes our lives a beautiful and believable witness of God's love for all the brothers and sisters that we encounter every day. Remember your homework! The fifth chapter of Matthew and chapter 25 of Matthew".
Finally addressing the Italians present at the audience, Francis recalled that today is the anniversary of the death of Paul VI, on 6 August 1978. "We remember him with affection and admiration, considering how he lived totally dedicated to the service of the Church, which he loved with all his heart. May his example as a faithful servant of Christ and the Gospel be an encouragement and stimulus for all of us".