reflections, updates and homilies from Deacon Mike Talbot inspired by the following words from my ordination: Receive the Gospel of Christ whose herald you have become. Believe what you read, teach what you believe and practice what you teach...
Here is a ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave today, before and after praying the midday Regina Caeli from the Library of the Apostolic Vatican Palace. At the end of the Regina Caeli the Pope appeared at the window of his study and imparted his Blessing.
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Before the Regina Caeli:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
This Sunday’s Gospel (Cf. John 14:15-21) presents two fundamental 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 discourse: “If you love me, you will keep my Commandments” (v. 15); “He who has my Commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me (v. 21). Jesus asks us to love Him, but He explains: this love isn’t exhausted in a desire of Him, or in a sentiment, no. It requires willingness to follow His way, namely, the Will of the Father. And this is summarized in the Commandment of mutual love — the first love [in implementing it] –, given by Jesus Himself: “Love one another; even as I have loved you” (John 13:34). He didn’t say: “Love Me, as I have loved you,” but “love one another as I have loved you.” He loves us without asking us for reciprocation, and He wants His free love to become the concrete way of life among ourselves: this is His will.
To help the disciples to follow this way, Jesus promises that He will pray to the Father to send “another Counselor” (v. 16), namely, a Consoler, a Defender that takes His place and gives 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 a Christian. After Jesus died and resurrected, His love is given to all those that believe in Him and are baptized in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit Himself guides them, illumines them reinforces them, so that each one can walk in life, also through adversities and difficulties, in joys and in sorrows, remaining in Jesus’ way. This is possible in fact by keeping oneself docile to the Holy Spirit, so that, with His operating presence, He can not only console but transform hearts, open them to truth and love.
In face of the experience of error and sin — which we all have –, the Holy Spirit helps us not to succumb and makes us receive and live fully the meaning of Jesus’ words: “If you love Me, observe my Commandments” (V. 15). The Commandments aren’t given to us as a sort of mirror, in which to see our miseries and inconsistency reflected. No, they aren’t so. The Word of God is given to us as Word of life, which transforms the heart, life, which renews, which doesn’t judge to condemn, but heals and has forgiveness as its end. God’s mercy is like that. 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 persons, persons who want and are able to love, persons that have understood that life is a mission to proclaim the wonders the Lord does in one who entrusts himself to Him.
May the Virgin Mary, model of the Church that knows how to listen to the Word of God and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, help us to live the Gospel with joy, in the awareness of being supported by the Spirit, divine fire that warms hearts and illuminates our steps.
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]
Observed tomorrow is the centenary of Saint John Paul II’s birth, at Wadowice, in Poland. We remember him with so much affection and gratitude. Tomorrow morning, at 7:00 am I will celebrate the Holy Mass, which will be broadcast worldwide, at the altar where his mortal remains rest. He continues from Heaven to intercede for the People of God and for peace in the world.
Taken up again in some countries are liturgical celebrations with the faithful; in others, the possibility is being evaluated. In Italy, beginning tomorrow, Holy Mass will be able to be celebrated with the people but, please, we go ahead observing the norms, the prescriptions given to us, so as to protect everyone’s health and that of the people.
In many parishes, it is traditional in the month of May to celebrate First Communion Masses. Clearly, because of the pandemic, this beautiful moment of faith and celebration has been postponed. Therefore, I wish to send an affectionate thought to the boys and girls who would have received the Eucharist for the first time. Dearests, I invite you to live this time of waiting as an opportunity to prepare yourselves better: praying, reading the catechism book to deepen your knowledge of Jesus, growing in goodness, and in the service of others. Happy walking!
Today the Laudato Si’ Week begins, which will end next Sunday, in which the fifth anniversary is observed of the Encyclical’s publication. In these times of pandemic, in which we are more aware of the importance of the care of our common home, I hope that all the common reflection and commitment will help to create and strengthen constructive attitudes for the care of Creation.
I wish you all a happy Sunday. Please, don’t forget to pray for me. Enjoy your lunch and goodbye.