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3) The New Alliance & the New People

Catechesis by Pope Francis on the Church (3rd of 16)
General Audience, Wednesday 6 August 2014 - in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Polish, Portuguese & Spanish

"Dear Brothers and Sisters Good morning,
In previous catecheses we saw how the Church constitutes a people, a people prepared with God’s love and patience and to which we are all called to belong. Today I would like to highlight the newness which characterizes this people: it truly involves a new people, which is based on the New Covenant, established by the Lord Jesus with the gift of his life. This newness does not deny the previous journey nor does it oppose it, but in fact leads it forth, leads it to fulfillment.

1. There is a very meaningful figure, who acts as a hinge between the Old and New Testaments: that of John the Baptist. According to the Synoptic Gospels he is the “precursor”, the one who prepares the coming of the Lord, preparing the people to convert the heart to receive God’s comfort already at hand. According to the Gospel of John, he is the “witness”, insomuch as he makes us recognize in Jesus the One who comes from on High, to forgive our sins and to make of his people his Bride, the first fruits of the new humanity. As “precursor” and “witness”, John the Baptist plays a role central to the entire Scripture, as he forms the bridge between the Old Testament promise and its fulfillment, between the prophecies and their realization in Jesus Christ. With his witness John points us to Jesus, invites us to follow him, and tells us without mincing his words that this requires humility, repentance and conversion: it is an invitation that calls for humility, repentance and conversion.

2. As Moses had covenanted with God by virtue of the law received on Mount Sinai, so Jesus, from a hill on the shore of the Lake of Galilee, gives to his disciples and to the crowd a new lesson which begins with the Beatitudes. Moses gives the Law on Mount Sinai and Jesus, the new Moses, gives the Law on that hillside, on the shore of the Lake of Galilee. The Beatitudes are the path that God indicates as the answer to man’s innate desire for happiness, and they perfect the Commandments of the Old Covenant. We are accustomed to learning the Ten Commandments — of course, you all know them, you learned them in the Catechesis — but we are not used to repeating the Beatitudes. Let us try however, to remember them and to impress them upon our heart. Let us do one thing: I’ll say them one at a time and you’ll repeat them. Okay?

First: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. [The people repeat]

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted”. [The people repeat]

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth”. [The people repeat]

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied”. [The people repeat]

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy”. [The people repeat]

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God”. [The people repeat]

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God”. [The people repeat]

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. [The people repeat]

“Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. I’ll help you: [repeats with the people]. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

“Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you”. [The people repeat]

Very good! But let’s do one thing: I’m giving you homework, an assignment to do at home. Take the Gospel, the one you carry with you.... Remember that you should always carry a little Gospel with you, in your pocket, purse, always; the one you have at home. Carry the Gospel, and in the first Chapters of Matthew — I believe in five — there are the Beatitudes. And today, tomorrow at home, read them. Will you do it? [The people answer: “Yes”!] So as not to forget them, because it is the Law that Jesus gives us! Will you do it? Thank you.

In these words is all the newness that Christ brought, all the newness of Christ is in these words. In fact, the Beatitudes are the portrait of Jesus, his way of life; and they are the path to true happiness, which we too can travel with the grace that Jesus gives us.

3. Besides the New Law, Jesus also gives us the “protocol” by which we will be judged. At the end of the world we will be judged. And what questions will we be asked there? What will these questions be? What is the protocol by which the judge will evaluate us? We find it in Chapter 25 of the Gospel of Matthew. Today the assignment is to read the fifth Chapter of the Gospel of Matthew where the Beatitudes are; and read the 25th Chapter, where the protocol is, the questions that we will be asked on Judgement Day. We will not have titles, credit or privileges on which to stake our claims. The Lord will recognize us if, in our turn, we recognized him in the poor, in the hungry, in the indigent and the outcast, in those who suffer and are alone.... This is one of the fundamental criteria for evaluating our Christian life, which Jesus calls us to measure up to every day. I read the Beatitudes and I think of how my Christian life should be, and then I examine my conscience with this Chapter 25 of Matthew. Every day: I did this, I did this, I did this.... It will do us good! They are simple but concrete things.

Dear friends, the New Covenant consists exactly in this: in recognizing oneself, in Christ, enveloped in God’s mercy and compassion. This is what fills our heart with joy, and this is what makes our life a beautiful and credible testimony of God’s love for all the brothers and sisters we meet everyday. Remember your homework! The fifth Chapter of Matthew and Chapter 25 of Matthew. Thank you!"


"Soyez les bienvenus, chers amis de langue française ! En cette fête de la Transfiguration du Seigneur, que votre cœur soit rempli de joie et de lumière en reconnaissant la miséricorde de Dieu pour vous ! Que cette joie et cette lumière transparaissent dans toute votre vie pour être des témoins crédibles de l’amour de Dieu pour toutes les personnes que vous rencontrerez ! Bon séjour à Rome ! Que Dieu vous bénisse !

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today’s Audience, including those from the United Kingdom, Norway, Zimbabwe, Japan and the United States. Upon all of you, and upon your families, I invoke joy and peace in the Lord Jesus.

Von Herzen grüße ich die Pilger und Besucher deutscher Sprache, insbesondere die vielen jungen Menschen, die an dieser Audienz teilnehmen. Strahlt auch in eurer Heimat die Freude aus, Christ zu sein, und tragt die Liebe des Erlösers zu euren Mitmenschen. Der Heilige Geist geleite euch auf euren Wegen.

Saludo con afecto a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los grupos venidos de España, México, Argentina y otros países latinoamericanos. Hoy celebramos la fiesta de la Transfiguración del Señor. Pidamos a Jesús que su gracia nos transforme a imagen suya, para que viviendo según el espíritu de las bienaventuranzas seamos luz y consuelo para nuestros hermanos. Muchas gracias y que Dios los bendiga.

Dirijo uma saudação cordial aos peregrinos de língua portuguesa, em particular aos brasileiros de Rio Grande da Serra. Queridos amigos, sois chamados a ser testemunhas do Evangelho no mundo, transfigurados pela alegria e pela graça misericordiosa de Deus. Desça sobre vós e sobre vossas famílias a bênção de Deus.

أُرحِّبُ بالحجّاجِ الناطقينَ باللغةِ العربية، وخاصةً بالقادمينَ من الشرق الأوسط. أيُّها الأصدقاءُ الأعزاء، تذكّروا على الدوامِ أنَّ التطويباتِ هي طريقُ السعادةِ الحقيقيَّة التي يُمكنُنا نحنُ أيضًا أن نسيرَها بالنعمةِ التي يمنحُنا إيَّاها يسوع. ليُبارِككُم الربّ!

Witam polskich pielgrzymów. Drodzy przyjaciele, nowe przymierze polega na tym, że możemy w Chrystusie doświadczać Bożego miłosierdzia i współczucia. Właśnie to napełnia nasze serce radością i to czyni z naszego życia piękne i wiarygodne świadectwo miłości Boga do wszystkich braci, których spotykamy każdego dnia. Bądźcie ludźmi błogosławieństw, a Boże błogosławieństwo niech wam zawsze towarzyszy!


Esprimo la mia vicinanza alle popolazioni della provincia cinese dello Yunnan, colpite domenica scorsa da un terremoto che ha provocato numerose vittime e ingenti danni. Prego per i defunti e per i loro familiari, per i feriti e per quanti hanno perso la casa. Il Signore dia conforto, speranza e solidarietà nella prova.

* * *

Cari pellegrini di lingua italiana: benvenuti! Sono lieto di accogliere le Figlie dei Sacri Cuori di Gesù e Maria – Istituto Ravasco -, le Suore Teatine dell’Immacolata Concezione, le Serve di Maria Riparatrici e le Suore Francescane Adoratrici della Santa Croce, qui convenute in occasione dei rispettivi Capitoli Generali. Saluto i gruppi parrocchiali, i giovani che hanno portato la fiaccola della Speranza per la tendopoli di San Gabriele dell’Addolorata e le famiglie partecipanti alla terza Marcia francescana dalla Sicilia ad Assisi. La visita alle Tombe degli Apostoli accresca in voi il proposito di manifestare in concrete opere di carità la fede nel Signore.

Il nostro pensiero va oggi al Venerabile Servo di Dio Paolo VI, nell’anniversario della morte avvenuta il 6 agosto 1978. Lo ricordiamo con affetto e con ammirazione, considerando come egli visse totalmente dedito al servizio della Chiesa, che amò con tutto se stesso. Il suo esempio di fedele servitore di Cristo e del Vangelo sia di incoraggiamento e di stimolo per tutti noi.

Un particolare pensiero rivolgo ai giovani, agli ammalati e agli sposi novelli. La Festa della Trasfigurazione del Signore aiuti tutti a non perdere mai la speranza, ma ad abbandonarci nelle mani del Cristo che, senza nostro merito, ci ha salvati e redenti. Grazie."



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