Sunday, May 19, 2019

Regina Coeli for the fifth Sunday of Easter

At noon today in Rome (6:00am EDT), the V Sunday of Easter, the Holy Father, Pope Francis appeared at the window of his study in the Vatican Apostolic Palace to recite the Regina Coeli with the faithful and with pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter's Square.

Greetings of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
prior to the recitation of the Regina Coeli

Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

Today's gospel leads us to the Cenacle where we 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 said to them: I give you a new commandment: that you love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should 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 his people to love their neighbour as themselves (cf Lv 19:18). Jesus himself, responded to those who asked him what was the greatest commandment of the Law by explaining that the first commandment is to love God with all one's heart and the second to love one's neighbour as oneself (cf Mt 22: 38-39).

So what is the novelty of this commandment that Jesus entrusts to his disciples? Why does he 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; you must love as I have loved you. The novelty is found in the love of Jesus Christ, the love with which he gave his life for us. It is a question of the universal love of God, love without conditions and without limits, which finds its apex on the cross. In that moment of extreme surrender, in that moment of abandonment to the Father's will, the Son of God has shown the world, and given us the fullness of love. Thinking back to the passion and the agony of Christ, the disciples understood the meaning of those words of his: As I have loved you, so you also should 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 which knows no limits and never ends. By giving us this new commandment, he asks us to love each other not only and not so much with our love, but with his love, which the Holy Spirit infuses in our hearts if we call out to 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, which is immensely more. God loves us much more than we love ourselves. And so we can spread the seed of love that renews relationships between people and opens horizons of hope, spread it everywhere. Jesus always opens horizons of hope, his love opens horizons of hope. This love makes us become new, brothers and sisters in the Lord.  It 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 hearts of stone into hearts of flesh; the only force capable of transforming our hearts 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 should answer in his heart. Am I capable of loving my enemies? We all have people, I don't know if they are enemies, but people who don't agree with us, who are 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 or her? Everyone respond in your own heart. The love of Jesus makes us see other people as present or future members of the community of the friends of Jesus; it motivates us to dialogue and it helps us to listen to and know each other. Love opens us up to others, and this is 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 and 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.

Following the recitation of the Regina Coeli, the Holy Father continued:

Dear brothers and sisters!

Yesterday in Madrid, Maria Guadalupe Ortiz de Landázuri, a lay faithful woman who was part of Opus Dei, was beatified.  She joyfully served her brothers and sisters by combining teaching and proclaiming the gospel. Her testimony is an example for Christian women engaged in social and scientific research. Let's applaud the new Blessed, all together!

I offer my cordial greetings to you, pilgrims from Italy and from other countries.  In particular, those who have come from Mexico, from California (USA) and from Haiti; to the faithful from Cordoba (Spain) and from Viseu (Portugal); to the students from Pamplona and from Lisbon.

I greet the Canonesses of the Cross on the one hundredth anniversary of their foundation; the leaders of the Community of Saint Egidio from different countries; the Polish pilgrims, in particular the scouts, accompanied by the Military Ordinary, who have come on the 75th anniversary of the battle of Montecassino.

I greet the faithful from Biancavilla and from Cosenza; those who have come from Pallagorìo along with the choir; the children who have recently been Confirmed from Senigallia and Campi Bisenzio; the choir from San Marzano sul Sarno and the choir from San Michele in Bolzano; the School of the Sons of Saint Anne from Bologna and the cyclists from the Bambino Gesù Hospital.

I wish you all a good Sunday.  Please, don't forget to pray for me.  Enjoy your lunch and good bye!

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