St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 19 May 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today's Gospel leads us to the Cenacle to make us hear some of the words that Jesus addressed to the disciples in the "farewell speech" before his passion. After having washed the feet of the Twelve, He says to them: "I give you a new commandment: that you love one another. As I have loved you, so let you also love one another "(Jn 13:34). But in what sense does Jesus call this commandment "new"? Because we know that already in the Old Testament God had commanded the members of his people to love their neighbor as themselves (see Lv 19:18). Jesus himself, to those who asked him what was the greatest commandment of the Law, answered that the first is to love God with all one's heart and the second to love one's neighbor as oneself (see Mt 22: 38-39).
So what is the novelty of this commandment that Jesus entrusts to his disciples? Why do you call it a "new commandment"? The ancient commandment of love has become new because it was completed with this addition: "as I have loved you", "love you as I have loved you". The novelty is all in the love of Jesus Christ, the one with which he gave his life for us. It is a question of the love of God, universal, without conditions and without limits, which finds its apex on the cross. In that moment of extreme lowering, in that moment of abandonment to the Father, the Son of God has shown and given to the world the fullness of love. Thinking back to the passion and agony of Christ, the disciples understood the meaning of those words of his: "As I have loved you, so let you also love one another".
Jesus loved us first, he loved us despite our frailties, our limitations and our human weaknesses. It was He who made us become worthy of his love that knows no limits and never ends. By giving us the new commandment, he asks us to love each other not only and not so much with our love, but with his, which the Holy Spirit infuses in our hearts if we invoke him with faith. In this way - and only in this way - we can love each other not only as we love ourselves, but as He loved us, that is immensely more. God loves us much more than we love ourselves. And so we can spread everywhere the seed of love that renews relationships between people and opens horizons of hope. Jesus always opens horizons of hope, his love opens horizons of hope. This love makes us become new men, brothers and sisters in the Lord, and makes us the new People of God, that is, the Church, in which all are called to love Christ and in Him to love one another.
The love that is manifested in the cross of Christ and that He calls us to live is the only force that transforms our heart of stone into a heart of flesh; the only force capable of transforming our heart is the love of Jesus, if we also love with this love. And this love makes us capable of loving our enemies and forgiving those who have offended us. I will ask you a question, everyone will answer in his heart. Am I capable of loving my enemies? We all have people, I don't know if they are enemies, but that doesn't agree with us, who is "on the other side"; or does anyone have people who hurt them ... am I capable of loving those people? That man, that woman who hurt me, who offended me? Am I able to forgive him? Everyone responds in his heart. The love of Jesus makes us see the other as a present or future member of the community of the friends of Jesus; it stimulates us to dialogue and helps us to listen to and know each other. Love opens us to the other, becoming the basis of human relationships. It makes us able to overcome the barriers of our weaknesses and prejudices. The love of Jesus in us creates bridges, teaches new ways, triggers the dynamism of fraternity. May the Virgin Mary help us, with her maternal intercession, to welcome from her Son Jesus the gift of his commandment, and from the Holy Spirit the strength to practice it in everyday life.
After the Regina Coeli
Dear brothers and sisters!
Yesterday in Madrid, Maria Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri was beatified, a faithful laity of Opus Dei, who joyfully served her brothers by combining teaching and the proclamation of the Gospel. His testimony is an example for Christian women engaged in social and scientific research. Let's applaud the new Blessed, all together!
I address my cordial greetings to you, pilgrims from Italy and from different countries. In particular those from Mexico, California, Haiti; to the faithful of Cordoba (Spain) and of Viseu (Portugal); to the students of Pamplona and Lisbon.
I greet the Canonesses of the Cross on the centenary of their foundation; the leaders of the Community of St. Egidio from different countries; the Polish pilgrims, in particular the scouts, accompanied by the Military Ordinary, who came on the 75th anniversary of the battle of Montecassino.
I greet the faithful of Biancavilla and Cosenza; those of Pallagorio with the choir; the boys of the Confirmation of Senigallia and Campi Bisenzio; the choir of San Marzano sul Sarno and that of San Michele in Bolzano; the School of the Daughters of St. Anne in Bologna and the cyclists of the Bambino Gesù Hospital.
I wish you all a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!