Vatican City, Nov 1, 2015 / 10:57 am (CNA/EWTN News).- The beatitudes are the most direct path toward happiness and holiness, Pope Francis said during Mass on All Saints Day. He urged the congregation to imitate Jesus in walking the difficult, yet rewarding, road to heaven.
The Pope said that the beatitudes make up “the path of holiness, and it is the same path of happiness. It is the path Jesus has taken; indeed, Jesus Himself is this path.”
“Those who walk with Him and through Him enter life, eternal life,” he said. He encouraged those present to pray that they would have the grace, like Jesus, to be “simple and humble.”
He told them to ask for the grace “of knowing how to weep, the grace to be meek, the grace to work for justice and peace, and especially the grace to let ourselves be forgiven by God in order to become instruments of his mercy.”
Pope Francis celebrated Mass for the solemnity in Rome’s Campo Verano cemetery, marking his third visit there since his election. Each visit was to celebrate the same feast.
In his homily, Francis focused on the Gospel of Matthew’s account of the Sermon on the Mount, in which Jesus gathers his disciples on a hill near the Lake of Galilee. He preached the beatitudes to them.
Jesus’ words aren’t just meant for his disciples. They also show to us the path to true happiness, and the road that leads to heaven.
“It's a path that's difficult to understand because it goes against the current, but the Lord tells us that whoever goes down this road is happy, that sooner or later, they become happy,” the Pope said.
He turned to the first beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” He asked how a person can be happy, when their only treasure is the Kingdom of God.
The reason, he said, is that when a person’s heart is “stripped and freed from many worldly things, this person is ‘waiting’ in the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Pope Francis referred to the second beatitude mentioned by Jesus: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” He asked: “how can those who weep be happy?”
This might seem strange at first, the Pope explained: those who have never felt sadness, anguish or pain in their lives will never know the strength and power of consolation.
Instead, the happy ones are “those who have the ability to be moved, the ability to feel in their heart the pain in their lives and in the lives of others. These ones will be happy! Because the tender hand of God the Father will console and caress them.”
Pope Francis then commented on Jesus’ declaration “blessed are the meek.” He noted that all too often we do the contrary, becoming impatient, nervous and eager to complain.
“We have so many demands on others, but when they touch us, we react, raising our voice, as if we ruled the world, when in reality we are all children of God,” he said.
“This is the way of the Lord: the way of meekness and patience,” Francis said, observing how Jesus himself took the same path. “As a child he endured persecution and exile; and, as an adult, slander, pitfalls, false accusations in court; and he endured it all with meekness.”
When Jesus in the Gospel refers to those “who hunger and thirst for righteousness,” he is referring to those who have “a strong sense of justice” both for others and for themselves, Pope Francis said. These people will be satisfied because the “are ready to welcome the greatest justice, that which only God can give.”
Francis then turned to the beatitudes surrounding mercy and peace. The merciful, he said, are the ones who know how to forgive and put themselves in the position of others, rather than judging everything and everyone around them.
“Forgiveness is something we all need, without exception,” the Pope said, explaining that it’s because of this that at the beginning of Mass we stop to recognize ourselves “for what we are, that is sinners, all of us.”
Turning his attention to the peacemakers, Francis asked those present to look at the faces of those who go around spreading discord and division.
“Are they happy? Those who always look for opportunities to cheat, to take advantage of others, are they happy?” he asked. “No, they cannot be happy.”
Instead, the true “artisans” of peace and reconciliation are those who seek to build them patiently every day. They are blessed, he said, “because they are true children of our Heavenly Father, who always and only sows peace, to the point that he sent his Son into the world as a seed of peace for humanity.”
Pope Francis concluded his homily by encouraging attendees to follow Jesus’ example on the path to eternal life.
The saints who have gone before us into heaven did the same thing, and accompany us on our own earthly journey, encouraging us to go forward, he said.
“May their intercession help us walk in the way of Jesus, and obtain eternal happiness for our deceased brothers and sisters, for whom we offer this Mass. So be it.”