Commandments


Commandments - Pope Francis     


Jesus explained to those who accused him of wishing to change the Mosaic Laws. He reassured them, saying “I have come not to abolish but to fulfil”. For the law, “is a fruit of the Covenant. It is impossible to understand the law without the Covenant. The law is more or less the way to enter the Covenant”, which began with a promise on that afternoon in the earthly paradise, then continued with Noah’s Ark, with Moses in the desert and then continued as the law of Israel in order to do God’s will”.

This law “is sacred”, because it brought the people to God. Therefore “it cannot be touched”. Some said that Jesus “was changing this law”. Instead he was seeking to explain clearly that there was a path that would lead “to the growth”, to “the full maturity of the law”.

The law that sets us free is the law of the Spirit.

However, it is a freedom which in a certain sense is frightening. Because, it can be confused with some other forms of human freedom. Then “the law of the Spirit leads us to the road of continuous discernment in order to do God’s will”. This too is somewhat frightening to us”. However, when we are assailed by this fear we risk of succumbing to two temptations. The first is “to turn back because we are uncertain. But this interrupts the journey”. It is “the temptation of the fear of freedom, of fear of the
Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit frightens us”.

In the1930s a diligent superior of a religious congregation was spending many years collecting all the rules of his congregation: what the religious were permitted to do and what they were not permitted to do. Then, once he had finished his task, he went to an important Benedictine Abbot who was in Rome, to show him his work. The Abbot looked at it and said: Father, with this you have killed the charism of your congregation! He had killed freedom. For the charism gives fruits of freedom and he had blocked the charism. This is not life. That congregation was unable to go on living. What happened? Twenty-five years after that masterpiece, no one looked at it and it ended on a library shelf.

The second temptation is “adolescent progressivism”. But it is not real progress: it is a culture that moves ahead from which we are unable to detach ourselves and from which we take the laws and values we like best, just as teenagers do. In the end we run the risk of slipping, “just as a car skids on an icy road and ends up in the ditch”.

For the Church in our day this is a recurrent temptation. We cannot turn back, and skid off the road. The road on which to continue is this: “The law is full, always in continuity, without being cut: just as the seed culminates in the flower, in the fruit. The road is that of freedom in the Holy Spirit who sets us free in a continuous discernment of God’s will, to make progress on this road without turning back”, and without skidding.

Let us ask the Holy Spirit to give us life, to lead us onwards, to bring the law to full maturity, that law which sets us free.



Pope Francis    19.05.19  Regina Caeli, St Peter's Square  5th Sunday of Easter Year C    John 13: 31-35

Pope Francis 19.05.19 Talks about Love
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!

Today's Gospel takes us to the upper room for us hear some the words that Jesus spoke to his disciples in His "Farewell Address" before his passion. After washing the feet of the Twelve, He tells them: "I give you a new commandment: "Love one another, you must love one another just as I have loved you", (Jn 13.34). But in what sense is Jesus calling this commandment new? Because we know that already in the Old Testament God had commanded his people to love their neighbour as they loved themselves (cf. Lev 19.18). Jesus himself, when asked about the greatest commandment of the law, replied that the first is to love God with all their heart and the second to love one's neighbour as oneself (cf. Mt -39 22.38).

So what is the novelty of this commandment that Jesus entrusts to his disciples? Why call it a new commandment ? The old commandment of love has became new because it has been completed with this addition: "as I have loved you", "love one another as I have loved you." The novelty lies in the love of Jesus Christ, the love with which He gave up his life for us. This is about God's universal love, which is without conditions and without limits, which fins its apex on the cross. In that moment of extreme abasement of self, and 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 Christ's agony, the disciples understood the meaning of those words: "as I have loved you, so you too must love one another."

Jesus loved us first, He loved us in spite of our frailties, our limitations and our human weaknesses. It was He who ensured that we might become worthy of his love that knows no limits and never ends. Giving us the new commandment, He asks us to love one another not only with our love, but with His love, that the Holy Spirit instils in our hearts if we invoke him with faith. In this way and only then can we love each other not only as we love ourselves, but as He loves us, that is immensely more. God loves us far more than we love ourselves. And so we can spread the seed of love that renews relationships between people and opens horizons of love. Jesus always open horizons of hope, His love open horizons of hope. This love makes us 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.

Love to which we are called to live as manifested in the cross of Christ is the only force that transforms our hearts of stone into hearts of flesh; the only force capable of transforming our heart is the love of Jesus, if we too love with this love. This love makes us capable of loving our enemies and forgiving those who have offended. I will ask you a question, that each of you must answer in their heart. Am I able to love my enemies? All of us have people, maybe they are people that are not enemies, but are people that we don't get along with, or we have people who have offended us; we are capable of loving these people. That man or woman who has wounded me, and offended me. I am capable of forgiving them. I invite each one of you to respond in your hearts. The love of Jesus makes the other person a current or future member of the community of Jesus friends . This love stimulates us to dialog and helps us to listen to each other and know each other. Love opens us to the other and becomes the basis of human relationships. It enables us to overcome weaknesses and prejudices. The love of Jesus in us creates bridges, teaches new ways, and triggers the dynamism of fraternity. May the Virgin Mary help us, with her maternal intercession, to welcome her son Jesus for the gift of his commandment, and from the Holy Spirit the strength to practice it in everyday life.



Pope Francis   13.02.20  Angelus, St Peter's Square       6th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A       Matthew 5: 17-37


Pope Francis talks about the Commandments  16.02.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today’s Gospel reading (cf. Mt 5: 17-37) is from the “Sermon on the Mount” and deals with the subject of the fulfilment of the Law: how I must fulfil the Law, how it is to be done. Jesus wants to help His listeners take the right approach to the prescriptions of the Commandments given to Moses, urging them to be open to God Who educates us to true freedom and responsibility through the Law. It is a matter of living it as an instrument of freedom. Let us not forget this: to live the Law as an instrument of freedom, which helps me to be freer, which helps me not to be a slave to passions and sin. Let us think about wars, let us think about the consequences of wars, let us think of that little girl who died of the cold in Syria the day before yesterday. So many calamities, so many. This is the result of passions, and people who wage war do not know how to master their passions. They do not comply with the law. When you give in to temptations and passions, you are not lords and agents of your own life, but you become incapable of managing it with will and responsibility.

Jesus’ discourse is divided into four antitheses, each one expressed with the formula “You have heard that it was said... I say to you”. These antitheses refer to as many situations in daily life: murder, adultery, divorce and oaths. Jesus does not abolish the prescriptions concerning these issues, but He explains their full meaning and indicates the spirit in which they must be observed. He encourages us to move from formal observance of the Law to substantive observance, accepting the Law in our hearts, which is the centre of the intentions, decisions, words and gestures of each one of us. From the heart come good and bad deeds.

By accepting the Law of God in the heart one understands that, when one does not love one's neighbour, to some extent one kills oneself and others, because hatred, rivalry and division kill the fraternal charity that is the basis of interpersonal relationships. And this applies to what I have said about wars and also to gossip, because language kills. By accepting the Law of God in your heart you understand that desires must be guided, because not everything you desire can be had, and it is not good to give in to selfish and possessive feelings. When one accepts the Law of God in one’s heart, one understands that one must abandon a lifestyle of broken promises, as well as move from the prohibition of perjury to the decision not to swear at all, assuming the attitude of full sincerity with everyone.

And Jesus is aware that it is not easy to live the Commandments in such an all-encompassing way. That is why He offers us the help of His love: He came into the world not only to fulfil the Law, but also to give us His Grace, so that we can do God’s will, loving Him and our brothers. We can do everything, everything, with the Grace of God! On the contrary, holiness is none other than guarding this gratuitousness that God has given us, this Grace. It is a matter of trusting and entrusting ourselves to Him, to His Grace, to that gratuitousness that He has given us, and welcoming the hand He constantly extends to us, so that our efforts and our necessary commitment can be sustained by His help, filled with goodness and mercy.

Today Jesus asks us to continue on the path of love that He has indicated to us and which begins from the heart. This is the way to live as Christians. May the Virgin Mary help us to follow the path traced out by her Son, to reach true joy and to spread justice and peace everywhere.





Pope Francis  17.05.20 Regina Caeli, Apostolic Palace Library    Sixth Sunday of Easter - Year A        John 14: 15-21 

Pope Francis Regina Caeli 17.05.20

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

This Sunday's Gospel passage (John 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 he insists on this in his farewell address: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (v. 15); "Whoever has my commandments and observes them, is the one who loves me." (14: 21) Jesus asks us to love him, but he explains: this love does not end in a desire for him, or in a feeling, no, it demands the willingness to follow his path, that is, the will of the Father. And this is summarised in the commandment of reciprocal love – the first love – given by Jesus himself: "Love one another, as I have loved you" (John 13: 34). He did not say, "Love me, as I have loved you," but "love one another as I have loved you." He loves us without asking us to do the same in return. Jesus love is gratuitous , he never asks us for love in return. And he wants his gratuitous love to become the concrete form of life among us: this is his will.

To help the disciples walk this path, Jesus promises that he will pray to the Father to send "another Paraclete" (v. 16), that is, a consoler, a defender who will take his place and give them the intelligence to listen and the courage to observe his words. This is the Holy Spirit, who is the Gift of God's Love that 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 the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Spirit himself guides them, enlightens them, strengthens them, so that everyone can walk in life, even through adversity and difficulty, in joys and sorrows, remaining in Jesus' path. This is possible precisely by remaining docile to the Holy Spirit, so that, through His presence at work in us, He can not only console but transform hearts, opening 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 enables us to grasp and live fully the meaning of Jesus' words: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments" (v. 15). The commandments are not given to us as a kind of mirror, in which to see the reflection of our miseries, our inconsistencies. No, it's not like that. The Word of God is given to us as a Word of life, which transforms the heart, which renews, which does not judge to condemn, but heals and has forgiveness as its end. God's mercy is like this. A Word that is light for our steps. 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, people who have understood that life is a mission to proclaim the wonders that the Lord accomplishes in those who trust Him. 

May the Virgin Mary, a 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 live the Gospel with joy, knowing that we are sustained by the Spirit, a divine fire who warms our hearts and illuminates our steps.