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Pope emphasizes importance of Beatitudes, Matthew 25 in following Christ

Catholic World News - August 06, 2014

Following a respite during the month of July, Pope Francis has resumed his series of Wednesday general audiences devoted to the Church.

The Pontiff devoted his August 6 audience to the Church as the new People of God, founded on a new covenant. This newness, he says, does not negate what has taken place before, but brings it to completion.

John the Baptist, he continued, is a crucial figure who acts as the “hinge” between the Old Testament and the New Testament. John the Baptist “points to Jesus and calls us to follow him in repentance and conversion.”

The Pope then recalled that as Moses received the law on Mount Sinai, Jesus gave the new law, the Beatitudes, on a hill by the Sea of Galilee. Because Christians are accustomed to learning the Ten Commandments but not the Beatitudes, Pope Francis asked those assembled in the Paul VI Audience Hall to recite the Beatitudes with him. He then gave them a “homework assignment”: to read the Beatitudes today or tomorrow.

In addition to delivering a new law, Jesus told us in Matthew 25 (verses 31-46) the “protocol” on which we will be judged on the day of judgment. Pope Francis urged those assembled to read that passage as well and said that he uses this passage as he examines his conscience daily.

At conclusion of the general audience, Pope Francis expressed his “closeness to the people of China’s Yunnan province” following an August 3 earthquake and prayed for the victims and their families.

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