SANTIAGO – Pope Francis praised the Chilean people for their ability to pick themselves and start over, at a crowded Mass on Monday at O’Higgins Park on the first day of his visit to their capital.
Before hundreds of thousands of people in this park, where in 1987 Pope John Paul II also said Mass, Francis dedicated his sermon to preaching the Gospel on the Beatitudes.
Jorge Bergoglio said the Beatitudes speak to “men and women who know suffering, who know the perplexity and pain that occurs when ‘the floor is moved out from under you’ or ‘your dreams get sunk’ and ‘the work of a lifetime comes to nothing,’” a reference to all the natural catastrophes that have struck Chile.
“But now you know all the more about perseverance and the struggle to move forward, you know all the more about rebuilding and starting over,” Francis said.
And he exclaimed: “How well the Chilean heart knows about reconstruction and starting over; how well you know how to pick yourselves up after being knocked down so often!”
Francis added that the Beatitudes “do not come from the hypercritical attitudes and cheap babble of know-it-alls who wouldn’t dream, however, of committing themselves to anything or anyone, and block any chance of transforming and renewing our communities.”
The Argentine pontiff called on all to shed “the resignation that makes us think we can live better if we dodge our problems, if we avoid others, if we hide or enclose ourselves in our comforts, if we numb ourselves with our tranquilizing consumerism.”
This first of the three Masses he will celebrate in Chile was dedicated to “peace and justice,” and Pope Francis noted the happiness of “those who can dirty their hands working so that others can live in peace” and of those “who strive never to sow divisions” in our society.