(CNA/EWTN News) On his first full day in Chile, Pope Francis told Catholics in the country that the Beatitudes aren't just a simple piece of advice from someone who purports to know everything, but are a source of hope which impels people to leave their comfort zone and follow the path given by Jesus.
“The Beatitudes are not the fruit of a hypercritical attitude or the 'cheap words' of those who think they know it all yet are unwilling to commit themselves to anything or anyone,” the Pope said January 16.
People with this attitude, he said, “end up preventing any chance of generating processes of change and reconstruction in our communities and in our lives.”
The Beatitudes, then, “are born of a merciful heart that never loses hope. A heart that experiences hope as a new day, a casting out of inertia, a shaking off of weariness and negativity,” he said.
By proclaiming blessings to the poor, grieving, afflicted, patient and merciful, Jesus casts out “the inertia which paralyzes those who no longer have faith in the transforming power of God our Father and in their brothers and sisters, especially the most vulnerable and outcast.”
The Beatitudes, he said, are the fruit of Jesus' encounter with people, who saw in him “the echo of their longings and aspirations,” and found in him the “horizon towards which we are called and challenged to set out.”
Pope Francis spoke during his homily for Mass at O'Higgins Park in Santiago on his first full day in Chile. He is currently in the first step of a two-country visit to South America, which will also include a stop in Peru.
He will visit various cities in Chile, including Temuco and Iquique, and on January 18 will travel to Peru, where he will visit Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo.
In his homily for Mass, Pope Francis focused on the day's Gospel reading from Matthew in which Jesus speaks on the Beatitudes.
The Beatitudes, he said, are not the product of the “prophets of doom who seek only to spread dismay,” and nor do they come from “those mirages that promise happiness with a single 'click,' in the blink of an eye.”
Rather, the Beatitudes “are born of the compassionate heart of Jesus, which encounters the hearts of men and women seeking and yearning for a life of happiness,” he said, noting that these are men and women who know what it means to suffer and who appreciate “the confusion and pain of having the earth shake beneath their feet” or seeing their life's work washed away.
Chileans themselves know from personal experience how to rebuild and start anew, he said, adding: “How much you know about getting up again after so many falls! That is the heart to which Jesus speaks; that is the heart for which the Beatitudes are meant!”
Francis said the Beatitudes represent a “new day” for all those who look to the future and dream, and who allow themselves to be moved and sent forth by the Holy Spirit.
Contrary to “the resignation that like a negative undercurrent undermines our deepest relationships and divides us,” Jesus provides a more positive message, telling the people that “blessed are those who work for reconciliation. Blessed are those ready to dirty their hands so that others can live in peace.”
“Do you want to be blessed? Do you want to be happy? Blessed are those who work so that others can be happy. Do you want peace?” he asked. “Then work for peace.”
Peace, the Pope added, is sown by closeness and by “coming out of our homes and looking at peoples’ faces...This is the only way we must forge a future of peace, to weave a fabric that will not unravel.”
A true peacemaker, he said, “knows that it is often necessary to overcome great or subtle faults and ambitions born of the desire for power and to gain a name for oneself, the desire to be important at the cost of others.”
Quoting Chilean Saint Alberto Hurtado, he said a good peace-maker knows that “it is very good not to do wrong, but very bad not to do good.”
He closed his homily asking that Mary would help all to both live and desire the Beatitudes “so that on every corner of this city we will hear, like a gentle whisper: Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.”