ZENIT—The World Seen From Rome 4/29/13

A Command From the Cross


Lectio Divina: Fifth Sunday of Easter, Year C

By Monsignor Francesco Follo

PARIS, April 26, 2013 (Zenit.org) – The gift of a new command: the law of Charity

“Love one another”. This command given to us by Christ is the “Magna Carta” of the People who, born from his pierced chest, are transformed by Love. Christ’s charity pushes us not only to acts of love, but also to a life of Charity in Him.

Unfortunately in ordinary speech and writing the meaning of the word “love”, giver of life, is diminished to that of a sentiment of sweet goodness or of a passion, often sexual. In the Gospel the word love is always characterized by the cross, which indicates a passionate goodness whose aim is not the “possession,” but the gift of oneself to the other person. When Christ says, “I love you”, the cross is included. He means the cross, the passionate gift of his own life. Doing so He shows us that pure and sincere love is a love that gives oneself freely.

Christ reveals his love in a passionate way: with his Passion and Death on the Cross. The love that Christ reveals and proposes with a “command” is told with delicate words and with the act of going to the Cross after having demonstrated it with the washing of the feet, the institution of the Eucharist, which fortifies and makes love stable, and many fraternal teachings.

Many times we have read and listened to the sentence of today’s Roman liturgy gospel: “I give you a new commandment: love one another as I’ve loved you” (Jn 13:33). To help our meditation I’d like to propose as a foreword a synthetic explanation of the terms.

First of all we must remember that for the Evangelist John, the term “commandment” means the word that reveals the love of God the Father. In the Greek text, he uses the word  “entole’ ” that means precept, advise, instruction and prescription. It is like the prescription that a physician writes to get the medicine needed to cure an illness.

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