Pope: Mercy, compassion at heart of new covenant

Pope Francis meets with students in Paul VI audience hall on May 31, 2014. Credit: Daniel Ibáñez/CNA.

In his first general audience since June, Pope Francis continued his catechesis on the Church, explaining that Jesus fulfills the Old Testament by giving a new teaching on mercy in the beatitudes.

“At the heart of the new covenant is our realization that, in Christ, we are embraced by God’s mercy and compassion, and that our lives must bear witness to his love for all our brothers and sisters,” the pontiff stated in his Aug. 6 general audience.

Beginning a catechesis on the Church shortly before breaking for summer, Pope Francis continued this line of reflection, telling those gathered in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall “Dear Brothers and Sisters, in today’s audience we resume our catechesis on the Church, the People of God.”

“Prepared for in the Old Testament and established by Christ in the fullness of time, the Church is a new people, founded on a new covenant” which is “sealed with the blood of Jesus,” he said.

Explaining how this newness brought by Jesus “does not set aside what went before, but brings it to completion,” the Roman Pontiff noted the importance of the figure of John the Baptist in scripture, stating that it “is very significant since it prepares the people to receive the Lord.”

“Saint John the Baptist is a bridge between the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament and their fulfilment in the New,” he said, observing how he “points to Jesus and calls us to follow him in repentance and conversion.”

Going on, the Pope pointed out that “Jesus also, on a small hill, delivered a new teaching to his disciples, which begins with the beatitudes.”

“The new law which Jesus gives in the Sermon on the Mount perfects the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai,” he explained, stating that “In the Beatitudes, Jesus shows us the way in which, with his grace, we can attain authentic happiness.”

Observing how the beatitudes “are like the portrait of Jesus, his way of life and path to happiness that the human heart longs for,” Pope Francis drew attention to how Jesus tells us in the Gospel of Matthew “that our Christian life will be judged on how we treat him in the least of our brethren.”

“In addition to the new law, the Lord invites us to recognize it in the poor, in those that suffer, in those in need.”

“We will be judged on this at the end of our lives,” he said, adding that “The new covenant consists precisely in recognizing that thanks to Christ, mercy and the compassion of God surround us.”

Following his weekly address, the Bishop of Rome extended his greeting to the thousands of pilgrims gathered, which included groups from the United Kingdom, Norway, Zimbabwe, Japan, the United States, Spain, Mexico and Argentina.

He also pointed out that the day marked the feast of the transfiguration of Jesus, and prayed “that his grace transforms us into his image, so that living in the spirit of the beatitudes we are light and consolation to our brothers.”


Voices

Easter and beyond

Anne Hansen

We move quickly from our major religious holidays each year. It’s not intentional. Life hurries along and as soon as the sun sets on one holiday the next is being touted by merchants looking to sell us whatever the next big day brings. To remain in the spirit of the religious holiday — in this case Easter — takes deliberate intention.

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April 25, 2015

  • Saturday, April 25

    Super Groovy 5K Run/Walk, 8 a.m., Woodley Park, 6350 Woodley Ave, Van Nuys. Sponsored by St. Euphrasia School, this year’s “Super Groovy” theme celebrates the school’s 50th anniversary of its founding in 1964 and serves as a tribute to that nostalgic era of peace and love — the 60’s. At the finish line, all runners and walkers will be puffed with clouds of psychodelic color. Registration $25-$40. For more information, contact Susie Sempelsz, (818) 488-1598. info@knights5k.org.

    5th Annual Car Show, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Junipero Serra High School, 14830 S Van Ness Ave., Gardena. Featuring classics, hot rods, and muscle cars as well as food, music, vendors and raffles. (310) 324-6675. la-serrahs.org.

    Challenge Weekend for Men, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and April 26, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Povorello Retreat House, 1519 Woodworth St., San Fernando. Presented by St. John Eudes and Our Lady of Grace Men’s Fellowships. Men will not board overnight; lunch is provided both days. $90 or donation. Register at knowingweekend.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Fred Perez, (818) 749-5126.

    First Annual Sacred Heart High School Gala, 5 p.m., Los Angeles City College New Student Activities Center, 855 N Vermont Ave., Los Angeles. Proceeds from the event, themed “United to Empower,” will benefit the Comet Scholarship Fund.



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