Marking the first General Audience since his summer break, Pope Francis resumed his Catechesis on the Church and the People of God at 10:30 this morning in the Paul VI Hall in the Vatican.
In addition to the catechesis, he underscored the tensions and conflict in the Middle East, as well as the earthquake in the Chinese province of Yunnan, which left hundreds dead and more than 2,000 injured last Sunday. Expressing his closeness, the Pope offered his prayers for the victims and their families, as well as for those injured and who lost homes in the disaster.
“Pray hard for peace” in the Middle East was a plea he again reiterated.
Reflecting on today’s catechesis, the Holy Father said the Church is a new people, one founded on a new covenant.
Yet, he noted that the newness Christ brings does not set aside what went before, but rather brings it to completion.
Focusing on John the Baptist, the Pope stressed how John served as a bridge between the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament and their fulfillment in the New Testament.
The Argentine Pontiff said that John “points to Jesus” and calls us “to follow him in repentance and conversion.”
Looking to the Gospel of St. Matthew for inspiration, Francis noted that Jesus reveals to us that our Christian lives will be judged on how we treat him in the least of our brethren.
In the Beatitudes, the Holy Father said that Jesus shows us how, with his grace, we can find true happiness. Calling on all those present to repeat the Beatitudes after him, the Argentine Pontiff reminded pilgrims gathered of their substance.
Concluding his catechesis, the Pontiff gave the pilgrims some familiar homework: “Always keep a little book of the Gospels handy, whether it be in your pockets or in a bag, so you can read the Beatitudes contained in Matthew, that have been given to us by Jesus.”
On Zenit’s Web page:
Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/pope-s-audience-address-on-the-church–2