Father Cantalamessa on What's New
Pontifical Household Preacher Comments on Sunday's Readings
ROME, MAY 5, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of a commentary by the Pontifical Household preacher, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, on the readings from this Sunday's liturgy.
* * *
A New Commandment
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Acts 14:20b-26; Revelation 21:1-5a; John 13:31-33a
The word "new" belongs to that restricted number of magic words that always and only evokes positive feelings. "Brand new," "new clothes," "new life," "new year," "new day." The new makes news. They are synonymous. The Gospel is called "good news" precisely because it contains the new -- par excellence.
Why do we like the new so much? It is not only because the new, the unused (a car, for example), generally works better. If this were the only reason, why do we welcome the New Year and a new day with such joy? The deepest reason is that the new, that which is still unknown, inexperienced, leaves more room for expectation, surprise, hope, dreams. And happiness is the child of these. If we were sure that the New Year would bring exactly the same things as the past year, no more and no less, we would not be very pleased about it.
The new is not opposed to the "ancient" but to the "old." "Antique," "antiquity," "antique dealer," are positive terms. What is the difference? The old is that which with the passing of time gets worse and loses its value; an antique is that which gets better and acquires value with the passing of time. That is why today Italian-speaking theologians try to avoid the expression "Vecchio Testamento" ("Old Testament") and prefer to speak of the "Antico Testamento" ("Ancient Testament").
Now, with these premises, let us draw near to the word of the Gospel. A question arises immediately: Why is a commandment that was already known in the Old Testament (cf. Leviticus 19:18) called "new"? Here the distinction between "ancient" and "old" proves useful. In this case "new" is not opposed to "ancient," but to "old."
The same Evangelist, John, writes in another place: "Dear ones, I do not propose to you a new commandment, but an ancient one. ... Nevertheless it is a new commandment about which I write to you" (1 John 2:7-8). Is it a new commandment or an ancient one? Both.
Literally speaking, it is an ancient one because it was promulgated some time ago; but according to the Spirit it is new, because only in Christ is the strength to put it into practice also given. As I said, new is not opposed here to the ancient but to the old. The commandment to love one's neighbor "as yourself" had become an old commandment, that is, weak and worn, on account of its being transgressed since the law imposed the obligation to love but did not give the strength to do so.
For this, grace is necessary. And in fact it was not when Jesus formulated the commandment of love during his life that it became a new commandment but when, dying on the cross and giving us the Holy Spirit, he makes us able to love each other by infusing in us the love he has for everyone.
Jesus' commandment is new in an active and dynamic sense, because it "renews," makes new, transforms everything. "And this love renews us, rendering us new persons, heirs of the New Testament, singers of a new song" (St. Augustine). If love could speak, it could make the words that God speaks in today's second reading its own: "Behold, I make all things new."
http://www.catholic.org CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000
Cantalamessa, Liturgy, Reading, Mass, Commandment
More Catholic PRWire
Showing 1 - 50 of 4,718
A Recession Antidote
Monaco & The Vatican: Monaco's Grace Kelly Exhibit to Rome--A Review of Monegasque-Holy See Diplomatic History
Dna. Maria St. Catherine Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
A Royal Betrayal: Catholic Monaco Liberalizes Abortion
Dna. Maria St.Catherine De Grace Sharpe, t.o.s.m., T.O.SS.T.
Embrace every moment as sacred time
Mary Regina Morrell
Letting go is simple wisdom with divine potential
Mary Regina Morrell
Father Lombardi's Address on Catholic Media
Pope's Words to Pontifical Latin American College
Prelate: Genetics Needs a Conscience
State Aid for Catholic Schools: Help or Hindrance?
Scorsese Planning Movie on Japanese Martyrs
2 Nuns Kidnapped in Kenya Set Free
Holy See-Israel Negotiation Moves Forward
Franchising to Evangelize
Catholics Decry Anti-Christianity in Israel
Pope and Gordon Brown Meet About Development Aid
Pontiff Backs Latin America's Continental Mission
Cardinal Warns Against Anti-Catholic Education
Three words to a deeper faith
Relections for Lent 2009
Wisdom lies beyond the surface of life
Mary Regina Morrell
World Food Program Director on Lent
Pope's Lenten Message for 2009
Keeping a Lid on Permissiveness
Glimpse of Me
The 3 stages of life
Sex and the Married Woman
A Catholic Woman Returns to the Church
Modernity & Morality
Just a Minute
Catholic identity ... triumphant reemergence!
Edging God Out
Burying a St. Joseph Statue
George Bush Speaks on Papal Visit
Sometimes moving forward means moving the canoe
Mary Regina Morrell
Easter... A Way of Life
Papal initiative...peace and harmony!
Proclaim the mysteries of the Resurrection!
Jerusalem Patriarch's Easter Message
Good Friday Sermon of Father Cantalamessa
Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross
Cardinal Zen's Meditations for Via Crucis
Interview With Vatican Aide on Jewish-Catholic Relations
Pope Benedict XVI On the Easter Triduum
by Catholic Online
- Daily Reading for Monday, June 26th, 2017 HD Video
- Is the 'Gaucho Priest' the Devil's worst nightmare?
- Slovakia Catholics gift Iceland with a beautiful new church
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, June 27th, 2017 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Monday, June 26, 2017
- Catholic hero gifted most prestigous award after saving woman's life ...
- St. Anthelm: Saint of the Day for Monday, June 26, 2017
- Daily Reading for Sunday, June 25th, 2017 HD
- Pope Francis prepares an incredible gift of love and solidarity for South Sudan HD
- St. Emma HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, June 24th, 2017 HD