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Saturday, May 5, 2018

Mandatum Novum - The New Commandment of the New Covenant (Testament)



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As we are celebrating First Communions this week in the parish, I would like to offer some commentary of two passages the Eucharist and the New Commandment of love that Jesus speaks of in the Gospel.

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN BAPTISM AND THE EUCHARIST.
Sacrament of Charity - Pope Benedict XVI. (2007)
9. The mission for which Jesus came among us was accomplished in the Paschal Mystery. On the Cross from which he draws all people to himself (cf. Jn 12:32), just before "giving up the Spirit," he utters the words: "it is finished" (Jn 19:30). In the mystery of Christ's obedience unto death, even death on a Cross (cf. Phil 2:8), the new and eternal covenant was brought about. In his crucified flesh, God's freedom and our human freedom met definitively in an inviolable, eternally valid pact. Human sin was also redeemed once for all by God's Son (cf. Heb 7:27; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10). As I have said elsewhere, "Christ's death on the Cross is the culmination of that turning of God against himself in which he gives himself in order to raise man up and save him. This is love in its most radical form." (18) In the Paschal Mystery, our deliverance from evil and death has taken place. In instituting the Eucharist, Jesus had spoken of the "new and eternal covenant" in the shedding of his blood (cf. Mt 26:28; Mk 14:24; Lk 22:20). This, the ultimate purpose of his mission, was clear from the very beginning of his public life. Indeed, when, on the banks of the Jordan, John the Baptist saw Jesus coming towards him, he cried out: "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29). It is significant that these same words are repeated at every celebration of Holy Mass, when the priest invites us to approach the altar: "This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those who are called to the supper of the Lamb." Jesus is the true paschal lamb who freely gave himself in sacrifice for us, and thus brought about the new and eternal covenant. The Eucharist contains this radical newness, which is offered to us again at every celebration. (19)


JESUS GIVES US A NEW COMMANDMENT.  - the Four Loves of the Greek Language (C.S. Lewis)  Storge (bonding) - Philia (friendship) - Eros (romance) - Agape (self-gift)

Saint Augustine on the new commandment of divine love – charity or agape – given by Jesus in the last supper discourse of the Gospel of John. Such love is impossible for human beings without the help of grace — it is a gift & one of the three theological virtues.
The Lord Jesus declares that he is giving his disciples a new commandment, that they should love one another: I give you a new commandment: love one another.
But wasn’t this commandment already part of the ancient law of God, where it is written You shall love your neighbor as yourself? Why, then, is it called a new one by the Lord, when it is really so old? Is it new because he has divested us of our old humanity and clothed us with the new? It is true that love renews those who listen to it (or rather, those who act in obedience to it) but it is that particular love which the Lord distinguished from all carnal affection by adding love one another as I have loved you.
This is the love that renews us, making us new men, heirs of the New Testament, singers of the new song. It was this love, my beloved brethren, that renewed the patriarchs and prophets of old, and later renewed the blessed apostles. This is the love that is now renewing the nations, and from among the universal race of man, which overspreads the whole world, is making and gathering together a new people, the body of the newly-married spouse of the only-begotten Son of God. Of her the Song of Songs says, Who is she who is coming up, clothed in white? Clothed in white because she has been renewed; and how else can she have been renewed but by the new commandment?
Because of this, the members of the people of God have a mutual interest in one another; and if one member suffers then all the members suffer with it; and if one member is honored then all the members rejoice with it. For this they hear and this they observe: I give you a new commandment: love one another: not as people who pretend to love in order to corrupt one another, nor indeed as people love one another genuinely but in a human way.
Rather, they love one another as those who belong to God. All of them are children of the Most High and consequently brethren of his only Son. They share with each other the love with which he leads them to the end that will bring them fulfillment and the true satisfaction of their real desires. For when God is all in all, there is no desire that is unfulfilled.
This love is bestowed on us by him who said, Just as I have loved you, you also must love one another. He loved us so that we should love one another. By loving us he bound us to one another in mutual love, and by this gentle bond united us into the body of which he is the most noble Head.

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