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제목 Walk in Love, as Christ also hath Loved us - Holy Thursday(2023-04-06)
작성자 관리자 작성일 2023-04-11


Walk in Love, as Christ also hath Loved us - Holy Thursday(2023-04-06)

My dear brethren,
 Today in His long discourse at the Last Supper our Lord Jesus Christ proclaimed the New Law: “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” (Jn. 13:34-35). St Thomas explains: this is the new Law, the Law of Charity, as opposed to the Law of fear. The fear of the Lord is good, and is the beginning of wisdom, but the law of Charity is better: it is the very purpose of the Old Law, to lead to the New Law: by the practice of the commandments perhaps at the beginning out of fear we are led to practice them out of love. St Augustine explains that, even if God would not punish the transgressors, true love would still obey the Law, because true charity desires only one thing: to please God, to do His holy Will.

 One might say: but was not already the commandment of Love in the Old Testament. Indeed it is written in Deuteronomy: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole strength” (Deut. 6:5). Also, concerning the neighbour, it was already written: “Seek not revenge, nor be mindful of the injury of thy citizens. Thou shalt love thy friend as thyself” (Lev. 19:18).

 Even the Pharisees knew that. One day, “behold a certain lawyer stood up, tempting him, and saying, Master, what must I do to possess eternal life? But he said to him: What is written in the law? how readest thou? He answering, said: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind: and thy neighbour as thyself. And he said to him: Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live” (Lk. 10:25-28).

 However, they heard the Law, they knew intellectually the Law, but they did not practice it. They were only interested in themselves and their earthly possessions and social positions. Though the Law was threatening them with earthly chastisements which they could see with the Roman occupation of the Holy Land, they would not open their eyes and continued to disregard the Law of God, the Law of Love.

 Indeed it is the same God in the Old and New Testament, the same God Who is Charity and gave the Law of Love, of Charity already then. It was understood by the great Saints of the Old Testament such as Moses, Abraham, David and the Prophets, but many departed from it. So what was new with the New Testament?

 Let us pray attention to the words of Jesus: “A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you” (Jn. 13:34). And how did He love us? He had said shortly before in the same discourse: “Greater love than this no man hath, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jn. 15:13). This is how He loved us: He was going to lay down His life for our salvation. He had already said just before when instituting the Holy Eucharist: “this is my body, which shall be delivered for you” (1 Cor. 11:24) and “this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins” (Mt. 26:28). And therefore this is how we should love our neighbours: to be ready to give our life for them, for their salvation, for their true good, renouncing completely to ourselves: a sacrificial love.

 At the very beginning of this discourse, St John says: “Before the festival day of the Pasch, Jesus knowing that his hour was come, that he should pass out of this world to the Father: having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them unto the end” (Jn. 13:1). Truly, “He loved his own unto the end!” Twice our Lord Jesus Christ gave Himself to His Apostles: first in the Holy Eucharist, then on the Cross. Twice He gave Himself totally, not reserving anything to Himself: in the Holy Eucharist indeed we receive the whole Christ, body, blood, soul and Divinity. He gives himself totally to each of us in this marvellous Sacrament, effect of the Almighty Power of God in the service of His Love: only God could do that! And again, on the Cross He offers everything, His whole body being wounded all over and shedding all His Blood – for us and for our salvation! 

 And this is the model, the standard of love that He commanded to His Apostles: this is how we ought to love one another in the New Testament! There is no room for selfishness, there is no room for tepidity, there is no room for hesitation: “thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with thy whole strength” (Mk. 12:30) and “you shall love one another, as I have loved you!” (Jn. 13:34). St Paul is just the echo of this great commandment when he writes to the Ephesians: “Be ye therefore imitators of God [that is, of Christ who is God], as most dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath delivered himself for us, an oblation and a sacrifice to God for an odour of sweetness” (Eph. 5:1-2).

 In this supreme virtue of Charity consists the very essence of holiness. This has been the great force (virtus, virtue) that animated all the Saints; they lived it to the full. The early Christians were very careful to practice that virtue, and St John in his epistles comes back constantly on this: “For this is the declaration, which you have heard from the beginning, that you should love one another” (1 Jn. 3:11). “Dearly beloved, let us love one another, for charity is of God. And every one that loveth, is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God: for God is charity. By this hath the charity of God appeared towards us, because God hath sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we may live by him. In this is charity: not as though we had loved God, but because he hath first loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins. My dearest, if God hath so loved us; we also ought to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abideth in us, and his charity is perfected in us” (1 Jn. 4:7-12).

 After having given this New Commandment, our Lord said as you heard above: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” (Jn. 13:35). Let this be said of you, here in South Korea, my dear brethren. Let there be true and deep charity among all of you, serving the Lord and serving one another for Jesus’ sake, seeing Jesus in the neighbour whom you help. There are still many pagans in Korea, and our Lord Jesus Christ wants that by your example of holiness, of true charity, they be converted to Him: “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another” (Jn. 13:35). The holy example of the early Christians exercised a great force drawing the heart of many pagans towards conversion.

 As you can easily see, this charity is a fruit of a life of Faith, contemplating the pattern of all virtues, that is, “Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ Crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2). Hence the importance of this Holy Week. If you always have in front of your eyes, if you constantly remember the Passion of the Lord, then you will not sin, and you will find the strength, through His grace, to imitate Him and love both God above all and your neighbour for God’s sake.

 St Jerome says that when Christ commands us to love our neighbour, not only the good and friendly ones, but even the froward, when He commands us to “love our enemies and do good to those who hate us” (Mt. 5:44), He commands the perfection of Christian life, perfection of Charity, of which He gave the example first. With His help, when He is fully living and reigning in our hearts, then we can do it!

 What kind of good works could be done? The promotion of the Traditional Mass, the pro-life work, the instruction of the ignorant (especially in the truths of Faith), and first of all the faithful practice of the Commandments of God. Let your families be models of true charity, with patience, humility, mutual help and a true life of faith with family prayer. May we all have but one desire, that Jesus reigns in us and around us, by the practice of Charity.

 May the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose Immaculate Heart was constantly burning with the most perfect virtue of charity, obtain these graces for us, so that, by the practice of this the greatest of all Commandments that contains within itself all the others, we may reach the Kingdom of perfect charity, eternal beatitude in Heaven! Amen.

Father François Laisney