"We are not used to repeating the Beatitudes.
Let us try to recall them and to imprint them, in our hearts."
There is a very significant figure, which is the hinge between the Old and the New Testament: that of John the Baptist. For the Synoptic Gospels, he is the “precursor,” the one who prepares the Lord’s coming, predisposing the people to conversion of heart and the reception of God’s now close consolation. For John’s Gospel, he is the “witness,” in as much as he makes us recognize in Jesus He who comes from on high, to forgive our sins and to make his people his Bride, first fruit of the new humanity. As “precursor” and “witness,” John the Baptist has a central role within the whole of Scripture, in as much as he is a bridge between the promise of the Old Testament and its fulfillment, between the prophesies and their realization in Jesus Christ. With his witness, John indicates Jesus to us, he invites us to follow him, and he tells us in no uncertain terms, that this requires humility, repentance and conversion: it is an invitation that he makes, to humility, to repentance and to conversion. As Moses stipulated regarding the Covenant with God in accordance with the law received on Sinai, so Jesus, from a hill on the shore of Lake Galilee, gives to his disciples and to the crowd a new teaching that begins with the Beatitudes. Moses gave the Law on Sinai and Jesus, the new Moses, gives the Law on that hill, on the shore of Lake Galilee. The Beatitudes are the path that God indicates as an answer to the desire of happiness inherent in man, and perfects the Commandments of the Old Covenant. We are used to learning the Ten Commandments – you certainly all know them, your learned them in catechism – but we are not used to repeating the Beatitudes. Let us try to recall them and to imprint them, in our hearts. Let’s do this: I will say them one after the other and you will repeat them.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”
“Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.”
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
“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.”
In these words is all the novelty brought by Christ, and the whole novelty of Christ is in these words. In fact, the Beatitudes are Jesus’ portrait, his way of life, and they are the way of true happiness, which we also can live with the grace that Jesus gives us. In addition to the new Law, Jesus also gives us the “protocol” on which we will be judged. We will be judged at the end of the world. And what will be the questions we will be asked there? What will be the questions? What is the protocol on which the Judge will judge us? It is the one we find in the 25th Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel. Today, the task is to read the 5th Chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, where the Beatitudes are, and to read Chapter 25 where the protocol is, the questions we will be asked on Judgment Day. We won’t have titles, credits or privileges to put forward. The Lord will recognize us if, in turn, we recognized him in the poor, the hungry, the indigent and marginalized, in the suffering… This is one of the fundamental criteria to verify our Christian life, against which Jesus invites us to measure ourselves every day. I read the Beatitudes and I think how my Christian life should be, and then I do my examination of conscience with this Chapter 25 of Matthew. Every day: I did this, I did this, and I did this … It will do you good. They are simple things, but concrete. Dear friends, the New Covenant consists, in fact, of this: in recognizing ourselves in Christ, enveloped by mercy and the compassion of God. This is what fills our heart with joy, and it is this that makes our life a beautiful and credible testimony of the love of God for all the brothers we meet every day. Remember the tasks! Fifth chapter of Matthew and Chapter 25 of Matthew. Thank you!