Pope Francis held his first General Audience since June today, continuing his catechesis on the Church, pointing out that in the beatitudes, Jesus gives us a new teaching on mercy, fulfilling the Old Testament. “At the heart of the new covenant is our realization that, in Christ, we are embraced by God’s mercy and compassion, and that our lives must bear witness to his love for all our brothers and sisters,” the Pope said in his remarks today at the audience held in the Pope Paul VI Hall in the Vatican. “Prepared for in the Old Testament and established by Christ in the fullness of time, the Church is a new people, founded on a new covenant...sealed with the blood of Jesus,” Francis preached. The Holy Father further explained that the “newness” of Jesus Christ does not set aside the Old Covenant, but that it “brings it to completion.” The scriptural place of John the Baptist is also important, since St. John the Baptist fulfills the role of the Prophet Elijah in announcing the Messiah.
“Saint John the Baptist is a bridge between the prophecies and promises of the Old Testament and their fulfilment in the New,” Francis explained. "He points to Jesus and calls us to follow him in repentance and conversion. Jesus also, on a small hill, delivered a new teaching to his disciples, which begins with the beatitudes,” the Pope said. “The new law which Jesus gives in the Sermon on the Mount perfects the law given to Moses on Mount Sinai,” preached the Pontiff.
Pope Francis also reminded the pilgrims that Jesus makes it clear to us in Matthew 25 that we will face judgment based upon how we treat the very least of our brethren. “In addition to the new law, the Lord invites us to recognize it in the poor, in those that suffer, in those in need,” he explained. “We will be judged on this at the end of our lives, the new covenant consists precisely in recognizing that thanks to Christ, mercy and the compassion of God surround us.”