Pope Francis at Santa Marta focused on the Beatitudes: they are the practical “program” of Christian life
Domenico Agasso jr Taken from Vatican Insider
What is the practical “program” of Christian life and holiness? The Beatitudes. Pope Francis recalled this in Mass this morning at Casa Santa Marta – as reported by Vatican Radio – the day after the historic meeting for peace in the Vatican with Shimon Peres, Abbas and Bartholomew I.
In the homily Pope Bergoglio focused on the Beatitudes – taken from today’s Gospel – emphasizing that we must have the courage of meekness to beat hate.
In addition to being the program, the Beatitudes are “the identity card of a Christian”. “If any of us – he said – asks the question: “How do I become a good Christian?”, in the Beatitudes there is Christ’s answer that indicates aspects “that so much against the grain” compared to what generally “is done in the world”.
The Holy Father spoke of the blessed poor in spirit: “Riches do not guarantee anything. What’s more, when the heart is rich, is so pleased with itself, that it has no place for the Word of God”.
And then, blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted: “But the world tells us: joy, happiness, fun, that’s the beauty of life. It ignores, looks the other hand, when there are problems of disease, problems of pain in the family. The world does not want to cry, it prefers to ignore the painful situations, cover them. Only the person who sees things as they are, and cries in their heart, will be happy and comforted. The consolation of Jesus, not that of the world. Blessed are the meek in this world that from the start is a world of war, a world where there is quarreling and hatred everywhere. And Jesus says: no wars, no hate, peace, meekness”.
If you are meek “they will think I am a fool”. No matter, said Francis, “but you are meek, because with this meekness you will inherit the Earth”.
And then he went on: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, blessed are those “who are fighting for justice, so that there is justice in the world”. “It is so easy – he warned – to enter into the gangs of corruption”, “that daily politics of quid pro quo. Everything is business”. And “so many injustices – he observed – So many people who suffer from these injustices”. The Son of God says, “Blessed are those who fight against these injustices”.
And still: blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy: “Those who forgive, who understand the mistakes of others”. Jesus does not say “Blessed are those who seek revenge, who take revenge”, but “Blessed are those who forgive, the merciful. Because we are all an army of forgiven! All of us have been forgiven. And for that blessed is the one who walks this road of forgiveness. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they have a simple heart, pure, without dirt, a heart that knows how to love with a beautiful purity. Blessed are the peacemakers. But, it is so common for us to be war makers or at least operators of misunderstandings! When I hear something from a person, and I repeat it around, maybe in a second slightly enlarged edition and refer it … The world of gossip. These people who talk, do not make peace, they are enemies of peace. They are not blessed”.
Then there were the blessed persecuted for righteousness: how many people “are persecuted, have been persecuted simply for having fought for justice”.
The Pope then explained: the Beatitudes are the “program of life that Jesus offers us”, “so simple, but so difficult”. And “if we wanted something more, Jesus also gives us other indications”, the “protocol by which we shall be judged”: in the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and I gave me to drink, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to visit me”.
With these two elements – the Beatitudes and Matthew 25 – the Pope highlighted, “you can live a Christian life in terms of holiness”: “A few , simple words, but practical for everyone, because Christianity is a practical religion: it is not for thinking, it is for practicing it, doing it. Today, if you have a bit of time at home, take the Gospel of Matthew, chapter five, in the beginning there are these Beatitudes; in Chapter 25 there are others. And it will do you good to read it once, twice, three times. But read this, which is the program of holiness”.