When you get up after you fall, you touch Jesus’ heart.
Pope Francis gave this heartfelt reminder during the Mass over which he presided at the O’Higgins Park in Santiago, Jan. 16, 2018, during his Apostolic Visit to Chile and Peru, Jan. 15-22.
Reflecting on “When Jesus saw the crowds…” in today’s Gospel according to Matthew, Francis said these first words of the Gospel to help us discover how Jesus wants to encounter us.
“The first thing Jesus does,” the Pope highlighted, “is to look out and see the faces of his people. Those faces awaken God’s visceral love.”
“Jesus’ heart was not moved by ideas or concepts, but by faces, persons. By life calling out for the Life that the Father wants to give us.”
When Jesus saw the crowds, the Argentine Pontiff noted, he saw the faces of his followers. The ‘remarkable’ thing, he noted was, that the people encounter in the gaze of Jesus the echo of their longings and aspirations.
This encounter, the Pontiff explained, gives rise to the Beatitudes, noting we are called and challenged to set out and live them.
“The Beatitudes are not the fruit of passivity in the face of reality, nor of a mere onlooker gathering grim statistics about current events. They are not the product of those prophets of doom who seek only to spread dismay. Nor are they born of those mirages that promise happiness with a single “click”, in the blink of an eye.”
Rather, he explained, the Beatitudes are born of the compassionate heart of Jesus, which encounters the hearts of men and women seeking and yearning for a life of happiness. These are the men and women, the Argentine Pontiff also reminded, who also know what it is to persevere and struggle to keep going, what it is to rebuild their lives and to start again.
“How much the heart of the Chilean people knows about rebuilding and starting anew! How much you know about getting up again after so many falls! That is the heart to which Jesus speaks; that is the heart for which the Beatitudes are meant!”
The Beatitudes, he said, are born of a merciful heart that never loses hope. “A heart that experiences hope as ‘a new day, a casting out of inertia, a shaking off of weariness and negativity.’”
Jesus, in proclaiming blessed the poor, the grieving, the afflicted, the patient, and the merciful, Francis highlighted, “comes to cast out the inertia which paralyzes those who no longer have faith in the transforming power of God our Father and in their brothers and sisters.”
Jesus, in proclaiming the Beatitudes, Francis also reminded, shakes us out of our negativity. Francis warned that having a sense of resignation tends to isolate us from others, to divide and separate us, to blind us to life around us and to the suffering of others.
“The Beatitudes,” Pope Francis encouraged, “are that new day for all those who look to the future, who continue to dream, who allow themselves to be touched and sent forth by the Spirit of God.”
Pope Francis concluded, praying that through the intercession of Mary Immaculate, “who from Cerro San Cristóbal watches over and accompanies this city, she may help us to live and to desire the spirit of the Beatitudes.”
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