.- The Holy Father celebrated Mass Sunday morning in St. Charles Square in Turin. During his homily, he taught about the new commandment of Christ and told how Christ's passion, witnessed in the Shroud of Turin, gives us hope.
Pope Benedict arrived at Turin on Sunday morning for a Pastoral visit to the city. The first event in a day filled with commitments was Mass with 25,000 people in St. Charles Square.
Teaching from the day's Gospel reading, the Holy Father said that Jesus, in proposing the new commandment to love one another as he loved them, gives the disciples a means "to continue his presence in a new way among them."
The Pope pointed out that this remains true: "If we love each other, Jesus continues to be present among us."
What differentiates the call to love from a similar command in the Old Testament, explained the Holy Father, is that Jesus adds, "Just as I have loved you, so also must you love one another."
This new commandment differs from that of the Old Testament because loving "as Jesus has loved" means "a love without limits, universal, able to also transform all of the negative circumstances and all of the obstacles ... to progress in love."
In giving us this new commandment, the Pope added later, "Jesus asks us to live his same love, which is the truly credible, eloquent and effective sign for announcing to the world the coming of the Kingdom of God."
In his extensive homily, the Holy Father called particularly for priests and deacons to know, in the face of the great deal of work, how to draw strength to carry the good news to the people from their "relationship of love with God in prayer."
He also told them to focus their existence on the Gospel, to "cultivate a real dimension of communion and fraternity" with those around them and to provide a witness in their ministry to the "power of love that comes from on high."
To all Christians, Benedict XVI said that in the face of the great variety of difficulties life presents, we can be fortified to live through them by the "certainty that comes from the faith, the certainty that we are not alone, that God loves each of us without distinction and (that) he is close to everyone with his love."
The Christian community, he added, "must be a concrete instrument of this love."
He continued exhorting everyone, especially young people, never to lose the hope that comes “from the Risen Christ, from the victory of God over sin and death."
This, he said, is the message of the Shroud of Turin, in which we see our sufferings “mirrored” in the suffering of Christ.
It's for this reason, he went on, that it is a sign of hope.
Christ took on the cross to put evil in check, said the Holy Father, and in his Easter is “the anticipation of that moment in which, also for us, every tear will be dried and there will no longer be death, mourning, lamenting, or worry.”