Here below is a translation of Pope Francis’ address before and after the recitation of the Regina Coeli this afternoon in St. Peter’s Square:
Before the Regina Coeli:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
Today’s Gospel – John, Chapter 15 – takes us back to the Upper Room, where we listen to the new commandment of Jesus: “This is my commandment – he says to the disciples – that you love one another as I have loved you” ( v. 12). And, thinking about the sacrifice of the Cross by then almost imminent, he added: “No one has greater love than this: to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you “(v. 13-14). These words, spoken at the Last Supper, summarize the whole message of Jesus; indeed, they summarize all that He has done: he gave his life for his friends. Friends who had not understood him, that in the crucial moment abandoned, betrayed and denied him. This says to us that God loves us despite not being worthy of His love. This is how much Jesus loves us.
In this way, Jesus shows us the way to follow the path of love. His commandment is not a simple rule, which is always something external respect to life. The commandment of Christ is new because He first carried it out, he gave his flesh, and so the law of love is written once and for all in the human heart (cf. Jer 31:33). And how is it written? Written with the fire of the Holy Spirit. And with this same Spirit, that Jesus gives us, we can walk on this road too!
It is a concrete path that leads us to move beyond ourselves to reach out to others. Jesus showed us that God’s love is realized in love of neighbor. Both the two go together. The pages of the Gospel are full of this love: Children and adults, educated and uneducated, rich and poor, the righteous and sinners have been welcome in the heart of Christ.
Therefore, this Word of God calls us to love each one another, even if we do not always understand each other, and do not always agree … but that’s where we see Christian love. A love that also manifests itself when there are differences in opinion or character. But there’s that love that is greater than these difference, that which Jesus teaches us. It is a love that is new, because it is renewed by Jesus and His Spirit. It is a love freed from egoism that gives us the joy in our hearts, so as Jesus himself says: “I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be full” (v.11).
This love draws its strength from its Baptism, when by the grace of God and the faith of the Church, we have been grafted into the true vine which is Christ, passed from death to life, and become adopted children so that we can turn to God as Father (cf. Rom 8.15). It is this love of Christ, that the Holy Spirit pours into our hearts, to make everyday wonders in the Church and in the world. There are so many small and big gestures that obey the Lord’s commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (cf. Jn 15:12). Little gestures of closeness to an elderly, a child, a sick person, a single person and distressed, homeless, jobless, immigrant, refugee … Thanks to the strength of the Word of Christ, each of us can go make ourselves to be the neighbor to the brother or sister that we meet. Gestures of closeness, of proximity. In these gestures, we manifest the love that Jesus has taught to us.
Help us in this our Blessed Mother, because in the daily life of each of us the love of God and love of neighbor are always united.[Original text: Italian]
After the Regina Coeli:
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
I greet you all, families, parish groups, associations and pilgrims from Italy and from many parts of the world, particularly from Madrid, from Puerto Rico and Croatia. I greet the faithful of Guidonia and Portici; school groups from Carrara, Bitonto and Lecco. A special thought to the young people of the Diocese of Orvieto-Todi, accompanied by their Pastor Msgr. Tuzia: Be courageous Christians and witnesses of hope!
I greet the State Forestry Department, which organizes the National Day of the Natural Reserves for the rediscovery and respect the beauty of creation; participants at the conference sponsored by the Italian Bishops’ Conference in support of a school of quality and that is open to families; the delegation of women from “Komen Italy,” an association for the fight against breast cancer; and those who have taken part in the initiative for life that took place this morning in Rome: it is important to work together to defend and promote life.
And, speaking of life, today, in many countries, Mother’s Day is celebrated. We remember with gratitude and affection all mothers. Now I turn to all the mothers. Are there some of them here, here in the square? Are there? An applause for the mommies in the square. And this applause embraces all the mothers, all our dear mothers, those that live with us physically, but also those that live with us spiritually … May the Lord bless them all, and may the Mother of God, to whom this month is dedicated, watch over them all.
I wish you all a good Sunday. And please, do not forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!
[Original text: Italian] [Translation by Deborah Castellano Lubov]