At 4 pm on Sunday afternoon, Pope Francis celebrated Holy Mass at the entrance of Rome’s Verano Cemetery, which he followed with a prayer for the dead and blessing of the tombs.
Concelebrating with the Holy Father were the Cardinal Vicar of Rome, Agostino Vallini; Archbishop Filippo Iannone, Vice-Manager of the diocese of Rome; and the parish priest of Saint Lawrence Outside-the-Walls, Father Armando Ambrosi.
Here is a ZENIT translation of the Pope’s homily.
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We heard Jesus in the Gospel who teaches his disciples and the crowd gathered on the hill near Lake Galilee (cf. Matthew 5:1-12). The word of the risen and living Lord points out also to us today the way to reach true blessedness, the way that leads of Heaven. It is a difficult way to understand, because it goes against the current, but the Lord says to us that he who goes on this way is happy; sooner or later he becomes happy.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” We might ask ourselves how a person can be happy who is poor of heart, whose only treasure is the Kingdom of Heaven. But the reason is precisely this: that having a despoiled heart, free from so many worldly things, this person is “awaited” in the Kingdom of Heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” How can those who mourn be happy? And yet, he who in life has not experienced sadness, anguish, pain will never know the strength of consolation. Happy instead can be all those that have the capacity to be moved, the capacity to feel the pain that is in their life and in the life of others. These will be happy, because the tender hand of God the Father will console and caress them.
“Blessed are the meek.” And we, on the contrary, how often are we impatient, nervous, always ready to complain! We have so many demands on others, but when they touch us, we react by raising our voice, as if we were the owners of the world, while in reality we are all children of God. Let us think, rather, of those mothers and fathers that are so patient with their children, who “make them go mad.” This is the Lord’s way: the way of meekness and patience. Jesus followed this way: when he was little he endured persecution and exile; and then, as an adult, calumnies, traps, false accusation in court, and he endured everything with meekness. Out of love for us He also endured the cross.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they shall be satisfied.” Yes, those who have a strong sense of justice, and not only towards others, but first of all towards themselves, they will be satisfied, because they are ready to receive the greatest justice, which only God can give.
And then, “blessed are the merciful, because they will obtain mercy.” Happy those who are able to forgive, who have mercy on others, who do not judge everything and everyone, but try to put themselves in others’ shoes. Forgiveness is the thing of which we are all in need, no one excluded. Therefore, at the beginning of the Mass we recognize ourselves for what we are, namely, sinners. And it’s not a way of saying, a formality: it’s an act of truth. “Lord, behold me here, have mercy on me.” And if we are able to give forgiveness to others that we ask for ourselves, we are blessed. As we say in the “Our Father”: “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
“Blessed are the peacemakers, because they will be called sons of God.” We look at the face of those who go around sowing darnel: are they happy? Those who always seek occasions to embroil, to take advantage of others, are they happy? No, they cannot be happy. Instead those who every day, seek with patience to sow peace, are architects of peace, of reconciliation, these are blessed, because they are true children of our Father in Heaven, who always and only sows peace, to the point that He sent his Son into the world as seed of peace for humanity.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is the way of holiness, and it is the very way of happiness. It is the way that Jesus followed, rather, He himself is this Way: one who walks with Him and passes through Him enters into life, into eternal life. Let us ask the Lord for the grace to be simple and humble persons, the grace to be able to weep, the grace to be meek, the grace to work for justice and peace, and especially the grace to allow ourselves to be forgiven by God to become instruments of His mercy.
This is what all the Saints did, who have preceded us in the eternal homeland. They accompany us on our earthly pilgrimage; they encourage us to go forward. May their intercession help us to walk on the way of Jesus, and obtain eternal happiness for our deceased brothers and sisters, for whom we offer this Mass.
[Original text: Italian]
[Translation by ZENIT]