By Vatican News staff reporter
On the eve of the Easter Triduum, Pope Francis, during his Wednesday General Audience focused on these central days of the Liturgical year, celebrating the mystery of the Lord's Passion, Death and Resurrection.
A new commandment of love
Looking ahead to Holy Thursday and the Mass of the Lord’s Supper, the Pope recalled Christ’s washing the disciples’ feet, His new commandment of love, and His institution of the Eucharist as the abiding memorial of the sacrifice of His body and blood for the salvation of all.
Adoration of the Cross
Turning his attention to Good Friday, Pope Francis said, in the intensity of the rite of Liturgical action, we will be presented with the Crucifix to adore. By adoring the Cross, we will relive the journey of the innocent Lamb sacrificed for our salvation.”
On that day, he continued, “We will carry in our minds and hearts the sufferings of the sick, the poor, the rejected of this world; we will remember the "sacrificed lambs", innocent victims of wars, dictatorships, daily violence, abortions.”
“Before the image of the crucified God,” the Pope underlined, “we will bring in prayer the many, the too many who are crucified in our time, who can only receive from Him the comfort and the meaning of their suffering.”
“Ever since Jesus took upon himself the wounds of humanity and death itself,” said Pope Francis, “God's love has irrigated these deserts of ours, he has enlightened our darkness.”
Speaking off the cuff, the Pope asked, Why is the world in darkness? He answered by saying that we live in a world beset by wars, a world where children are starving and lack education. Many people take drugs in order to feel a little better. It's a catastrophe, it's a desert,” he said. There are small islands, the Pope explained; these are the people of God “who keep in their hearts the desire to be better. But let's face it: in this Calvary of death, it is Jesus who suffers in his disciples.”
Pope Francis went to say that by Christ’s wounds we have been healed, and by his death we have all been regenerated. Thanks to him, abandoned on the cross, “no-one will ever again be alone in the darkness of death,” he said.
Mother of believers
Dwelling on Holy Saturday, Pope Francis described it as “the day of silence, experienced in weeping and bewilderment by the first disciples, shocked by Jesus’ ignominious death.” He noted that, this Saturday is also “Mary's day,” as she too lives it in tears, “but her heart is full of faith, full of hope, full of love.”
The Mother of God, said the Pope, remained at the foot of the cross, with her soul pierced. But when everything seemed to be over, “she kept vigil, she kept her hope in the promise of God who raises the dead.”
Pope Francis explained that by doing this “in the darkest hour of the world, she became Mother of believers, Mother of the Church and a sign of hope. Her witness and intercession sustain us when the weight of the cross becomes too heavy for us.”
Again, speaking off the cuff, the Pope warned against denying what one believes in for the sake of money, just like Jesus’ enemies at the tomb who denied that He had risen.
In the darkness of Holy Saturday, continued the Pope, “joy and light will break through with the rites of the Easter Vigil and the festive singing of the Alleluia.”
Beacon of hope
Concluding his catechesis, Pope Francis noted that again this year the faithful will be celebrating Easter in the context of the pandemic.
But he stressed that despite the many situations of suffering, “the Cross of Christ is like a beacon that indicates the port to ships that are still afloat on stormy seas.
“It is the sign of hope”, he said, “that does not let us down; and it tells us that not even one tear, not one cry is lost in God's plan of salvation.”