Apostolic Palace Library
Sunday, 17 May 2020
Sunday, 17 May 2020
The Gospel of this Sunday (cf. Jn 14 : 15-21) presents two messages: the observance of the commandments and the promise of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus links love for him to the observance of the commandments , and insists on this in his farewell speech: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (v. 15); "Whoever accepts my commandments and observes them, he is the one who loves me" (v. 21). Jesus asks us to love him, but explains: this love does not end in a desire for him, or in a feeling, no, it requires the willingness to follow his path, that is, the will of the Father. And this is summed up in the commandment of mutual love - the first love [in implementation] - given by Jesus himself: "As I have loved you, so you also love one another" ( Jn13,34). He did not say: "Love me, as I have loved you", but "love each other as I have loved you". He loves us without asking us for the return. Jesus' love is free, he never asks us for a return. And he wants his gratuitous love to become the concrete form of life between us: this is his will.
To help the disciples to walk on this path, Jesus promises that he will pray to the Father to send "another Paraclete" (v. 16), that is, a Comforter, a Defender who takes his place and gives them intelligence to listen and courage to observe his words. This is the Holy Spirit, which is the Gift of the love of God which descends into the heart of the Christian. After Jesus died and rose again, his love is given to those who believe in him and are baptized in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit himself guides them, enlightens them, strengthens them, so that each one can walk in life, also through adversity and difficulty, in the joys and sorrows, remaining in the way of Jesus. This is possible precisely by keeping docile to the Holy Spirit, so that, with his active presence may not only console but transform hearts, open them to truth and love.
Faced with the experience of error and sin - which we all do -, the Holy Spirit helps us not to succumb and makes us grasp and live fully the sense of Jesus' words: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" ( v. 15). The commandments are not given to us as a sort of mirror, in which we can see our miseries, our inconsistencies reflected. No, I'm not like that. The Word of God is given to us as the Word of life, which transforms the heart, the life, which renews, which does not judge to condemn, but heals and has forgiveness as its goal. The mercy of God is like this. A Word that is light for our footsteps. And all this is the work of the Holy Spirit! He is the Gift of God, he is God himself, who helps us to be free people, people who want and know how to love,
May the Virgin Mary, model of the Church who knows how to listen to the Word of God and welcome the gift of the Holy Spirit, help us to joyfully live the Gospel, in the awareness of being supported by the Spirit, divine fire that warms hearts and illuminates our steps .
After the Regina Caeli
Dear brothers and sisters!
Tomorrow marks the centenary of the birth of St. John Paul II , in Wadowice, Poland. We remember him with much affection and gratitude. Tomorrow morning, at 7, I will celebrate Holy Mass, which will be transmitted all over the world, to the altar where his mortal remains rest . From Heaven he continues to intercede for the People of God and peace in the world.
Liturgical celebrations with the faithful have resumed in some countries; in others the possibility is being evaluated; in Italy, from tomorrow it will be possible to celebrate Mass with the people; but please, let's go ahead with the rules, the prescriptions they give us, in order to safeguard the health of everyone and the people.
In May, in many parishes it is traditional to celebrate First Communion Masses. Clearly, because of the pandemic, this beautiful moment of faith and celebration has been postponed. Therefore I wish to send an affectionate thought to the boys and girls who should have received the Eucharist for the first time. Dear friends, I invite you to live this time of waiting as an opportunity to prepare yourself better: by praying, reading the catechism book to deepen your knowledge of Jesus, growing in goodness and in service to others. Good walk!
Today the Laudato Si ' week begins , which will end next Sunday, in which the fifth anniversary of the publication of the Encyclical is remembered . In these pandemic times, in which we are more aware of the importance of taking care of our common home, I hope that all the reflection and common commitment will help to create and strengthen constructive attitudes for the care of creation.
And I wish everyone a good Sunday. Please don't forget to pray for me. Have a good lunch and goodbye.
FULL TEXT + Image Source: Vatican.va - a Translation from Italian