Why Pope Francis updated the beatitudes

(CNS photo/Paul Haring)

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus laid out many of the qualities he hopes his followers will embody, including mercy, meekness and cleanness of heart. In offering these hopes, Jesus was speaking not only to the people of his time but to each of us today. There is much to be gained from revisiting these always-relevant words of wisdom. Yet the modern age represents distinct challenges, so Pope Francis, during his recent trip to Sweden, offered some additions to the Gospel lists of beatitudes to remind us that we are called “to confront the troubles and anxieties of our age with the spirit and love of Jesus.”

Each new beatitude offers a specific example of a person serving as “a messenger of God’s mercy,” a much needed example in our time: “Blessed are those who remain faithful while enduring evils inflicted on them by others and forgive them from their heart. Blessed are those who look into the eyes of the abandoned and marginalized and show them their closeness. Blessed are those who see God in every person and strive to make others also discover him. Blessed are those who protect and care for our common home. Blessed are those who renounce their own comfort in order to help others. Blessed are those who pray and work for full communion between Christians.”


The updated beatitudes remind us that the Gospel is not a static rule book to be read and followed but a way of proceeding that must be lived in the context of the modern world.



Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.


The latest from america

Even when events are messy and motives are questionable and hardships abound, we must trust that God’s unknowable power is at work.
“Walk together, work together, love each other.” That is how Pope Francis described the journey of building Christian unity in the 21st century. Michael Rudzena is walking that path as part of the John 17 Movement, an ecumenical group dedicated to responding to the prayer of Jesus that “all who
Ashley McKinlessMarch 22, 2019
For the first time, the inside story of the election of Pope Francis, excerpted from a new book by America's Vatican correspondent.
Gerard O’ConnellMarch 22, 2019
Protracted and opaque processes only reinforce the fear that the church is still more invested in protecting itself than in protecting those who suffer from abuse, the editors write.
The EditorsMarch 21, 2019