(CNS photo/Vatican Media)

February 13, 2022

In his Sunday Angelus address, Pope Francis reflects on the Christian identity encapsulated in the Beatitudes, and says Jesus’ disciples are blessed because they are poor.

Pope Francis offered a reflection on Sunday’s Gospel reading (Lk 6:20-23) at the midday Angelus prayer with pilgrims in St. Peter’s Square.

Speaking about the Beatitudes, the Pope noted that Jesus was surrounded by a large crowd when he proclaimed them, but that He addressed them to “His disciples”.

Pope Francis said Jesus did so because the Beatitudes “define the identity of the disciple of Jesus.”

“They may sound strange, almost incomprehensible to those who are not disciples,” he admitted. “However, if we ask ourselves what a disciple of Jesus is like, the answer is precisely the Beatitudes.”

Poor, blessed, humble

The Pope focused his attention on “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.”

“Jesus says two things to His people: that they are blessed and poor, and that they are blessed because they are poor.”

Being poor, said Pope Francis, means Christians find our joy in the gifts we receive daily from God—like life, Creation, and our brothers and sisters—and not in money or other material goods.

This type of poverty, he added, urges us to share the goods we have “according to the logic of God, which is gratuitousness.”

“Therefore,” he said, “the disciple is a humble, open person, far from prejudice and inflexibility.”

Paradox of the Beatitudes

Pope Francis went on to recall last Sunday’s Gospel account of St. Peter casting his net at Jesus’ invitation, before leaving his miraculous catch to follow the Lord.

“Peter shows himself to be docile by leaving everything, and in this way, he becomes a disciple. Instead, those who are too attached to their own ideas and their own securities, find it difficult to truly follow Jesus.”

The Pope said some people may listen to Jesus but ultimately refuse to accept the “paradox of the Beatitudes” and end up dissatisfied and sad.

Freed from chains of rigidity

The Beatitudes, noted the Pope, “declare that those who are poor, who lack many goods and recognize this, are blessed, that is, happy.”

“Disciples know how to question themselves, how to humbly seek God every day, and this allows them to delve into reality, grasping its richness and complexity,” he said.

Christian disciples, said the Pope, allow ourselves to be challenged and are willing to undertake a tiring journey to enter the logic of God.

“The Lord, by freeing us from the slavery of self-centredness, breaks our locks, dissolves our hardness, and opens up to us true happiness, which is often found where we do not expect it to be.”

Joy of Christian disciple

Finally, Pope Francis invited Christians to ask ourselves if we enjoy “the disciple’s readiness” or if we prefer to embrace our own rigid mindsets.

“Do I allow myself to be ‘inwardly unhinged’ by the paradox of the Beatitudes, or do I stay within the confines of my own ideas?” asked the Pope.

He concluded his catechesis with a reminder that joy is the true mark of a disciple of Jesus.

“May Our Lady,” he prayed, “the first disciple of the Lord, help us live as open and joyful disciples.”

By Devin Watkins

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