Pope Francis spoke Mary 10, 2019, of the “new commandment” Jesus gave the disciples at the last supper: “As I have loved you, so you must love one another.”
The Holy Father’s comments came before praying the Regina Coeli with the crowds massed in St. Peter’s Square. His words were based on the gospel of the day from the 13th chapter of John:
When Judas had left them, Jesus said,
“Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him.
If God is glorified in him,
God will also glorify him in himself,
and God will glorify him at once.
My children, I will be with you only a little while longer.
I give you a new commandment: love one another.
As I have loved you, so you also should love one another.
This is how all will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another.”
“Today’s Gospel takes us to the Cenacle, to make us listen to some of the words that Jesus addresses to His disciples in His ‘farewell address’ before his Passion,” the Pope explained. Jesus gives them a “new commandment” -but why is it new?
“Because we know that already in the Old Testament God had commanded the members of His people to love their neighbor as themselves (Cf. Leviticus 19:18),” Francis continued. “Jesus Himself answered anyone who asked Him what was the greatest commandment of the Law, saying that the first is to love God with all one’s heart and the second to love one’s neighbor as oneself (Cf. Matthew 22:38-39).
“The novelty is all in Jesus Christ’s love, that with which He gave his life for us. It’s about God’s love, which is universal, unconditional and limitless, which finds its summit on the cross. In that moment of extreme abasement, in that moment of abandonment to the Father, the Son of God showed and gave the world the fullness of love.”
The Pope noted the unconditional nature of Jesus’ love for humankind. And he stressed the depth of the sacrifice made by that love.
“Jesus first loved us; He loved us despite our fragility, our limitations, and our human weaknesses,” Francis said. “It was He who enabled us to become worthy of His love, which 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.
“The love that was manifested on the Cross 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.”