VATICAN CITY – Being a good Christian demands concrete action and deeds, Pope Francis said.
And, he said, the "how-to" manual is found in the Beatitudes and the Last Judgment, which spells out the consequences awaiting those who fail to help others in need.
Jesus offers a guide to life that is "so simple, but very difficult," the pope said June 9 during his morning Mass.
It's difficult because Christianity is "a hands-on religion; it isn't for thinking about, it's for putting into practice, to do it," he said in his homily.
The pope focused his homily on the Gospel reading from St. Matthew in which Jesus teaches the Beatitudes, which begin, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."
Jesus' teaching goes "very much against the tide" of a worldly culture, he said, in which monetary wealth, superficial joy and personal satisfaction are the measures of happiness and success.
But "blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven," he said, and "blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted."
Most of the world "doesn't want to cry, it prefers to ignore painful situations and cover them up" or just turn the other way and pretend they're not there, the pope said.
Jesus never said, "Blessed are those who wreak revenge," but rather, blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Those who forgive, understand the mistakes others have made, he said, underlining how "we are all part of an army of people who have been forgiven."