"The Lord thus shows the Apostles, and ourselves, that the true heights are reached on the plain, while the plain reminds us that the heights are found in a gaze and above all in a call: Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful," he said.
He then pointed to four "exhortations" which he said mold the vocation of the apostles "through real, everyday situation," which he named as to "love, do good, bless and pray."
These "are four things we can easily do for our friends and for those more or less close to us" or that we like, he said, but noted they are much more difficult to do for our enemies.
When we think of our enemies or those whom we don't like, our first reaction is often "to dismiss, discredit or curse them," he said, noting how we frequently "try to demonize them, so as to have a sacred justification for dismissing them."
"But Jesus tells us to do exactly the opposite with our enemies, those who hate us, those who curse us or slander us. We are to love them, to do good to them, to bless them and to pray for them."
Pope Francis then turned to what he said are "the hallmarks" of Jesus' message, where his "power and secret" are hidden.
The first aspect of this "secret" is that "my enemy is someone I must love," he said, explaining that "in God's heart there are no enemies. God only has sons and daughters."
"We are the ones who raise walls, build barriers and label people. God has sons and daughters, precisely so that no one will be turned away...No matter how sullied our hands may be, God cannot be stopped from placing in those hands the Life he wishes to bestow on us."
The Pope concluded his homily by pointing to Jesus continues to invite us "to spend our lives sustaining our people in hope, so that they can be signs of reconciliation."
"As the Church, we are constantly being asked to open our eyes to see the wounds of so many of our brothers and sisters deprived of their dignity," he said and urged the cardinals to "cherish in your own heart" the summons to be "merciful like the Father."
After the consistory, Pope Francis and the new cardinals took two buses and stopped by the Vatican's Mater Ecclesiae Monestary to pay a visit to retired Pope Benedict XVI, who was not present at the ceremony.
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In addition to the three American cardinals elevated during the consistory, others of voting age include: Archbishop Mario Zenari, who is and will remain apostolic nuncio to the "beloved and martyred" Syria; Archbishop Dieudonné Nzapalainga of Bangui; Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra of Madrid; Archbishop Sergio da Rocha of Brazil; Archbishop Patrick D'Rozario of Dakha, Bangladesh; Archbishop Baltazar Enrique Porras Cardozo of Merida, Venezuela; Archbishop Joseph de Kesel of Malines Brussels; Bishop Maurice Piat of Port-Louis, Mauritius Island; Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, Mexico and Archbishop John Ribat of Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.
In addition to the 13 new electoral cardinals, Francis has nominated four others who are of non-voting age due to their notable service to the Church: Anthony Soter Fernandez, Archbishop Emeritus of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Renato Corti, Archbishop Emeritus of Novara and Sebastian Koto Khoarai, O.M.I, Bishop Emeritus of Mohale's Hoek, Lesotho.
Additionally, he nominated Fr Ernest Simoni, an Albanian priest from the diocese of Shkodra, whose testimony of the persecution of the Albanian Church under the communist regime the Pope cried at during his 2014 daytrip to the country.
The consistory will be the third of Pope Francis' pontificate, the most recent of which took place last year on Valentine's Day. With the 17 new cardinal-elects included, the number of voting cardinals comes to 121, and the number of non-voters to 107, for a grand total of 228.
Elise Harris was senior Rome correspondent for CNA from 2012 to 2018.