VATICAN CITY, 20 APR 2011 (VIS) – In this morning’s general audience, celebrated in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope spoke on the Easter Triduum, “the three holy days in which the Church commemorates the mystery of Jesus’ passion, death, and resurrection”.
Benedict XVI explained that “Holy Thursday is the day that commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and ministerial priesthood. In the morning, each diocesan community, with their bishop, meets at their cathedral church to celebrate the Chrism Mass. … Priestly vows are also renewed.”
“In the afternoon of Holy Thursday”, he continued, “the Easter Triduum truly begins, with the remembrance of the Last Supper at which Jesus instituted the commemoration of his Passion, fulfilling the Jewish paschal ritual. … Jesus washes the feet of his apostles, inviting them to love one another as He loved them, giving His life for them. Repeating this gesture in the liturgy, we are also called to actively bear witness to our Redeemer’s love”.
The Holy Father recalled that Holy Thursday “ends with Eucharistic adoration, in memory of the Lord’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. … Aware of his imminent death on the cross, he felt a great sorrow”.
Referring to the somnolence of the apostles who accompanied Jesus to the Mount of Olives, the Pope noted that “it was the insensibility for God that makes us insensitive to evil”. With his death(the chalice that he had to drink from)., the Lord “felt all the suffering of humanity”. His will was subordinated to the will of the Father, his natural will transformed into a ‘yes’ to God’s will”.
Entering into the will of God, he added, “is not slavery but an entering into truth, love, and the good. It is directing our will toward God”. The act at Gethsemane is that “Jesus, with his anguish, charged with the drama of humanity, with our suffering and our poverty, transforms it into the will of God and thus opens the gate of heaven”.
Later, referring to Good Friday, the Pope said that this day commemorates “the Lord’s passion and death. We adore the crucified Christ, participating in his suffering with our penitence and fasting”.
“Finally, on the night of Holy Saturday, we celebrate the solemn Easter Vigil at which is announced Christ’s resurrection, his definitive victory over death, which challenges us to be new persons in Him”.
The Holy Father highlighted that “the standard that guided each of Jesus’ decisions during his entire life was his firm desire to love the Father and be faithful to Him. … On reliving the Holy Triduum”, he concluded, “we make ourselves available to welcome God’s will into our lives, aware that our true good, the path of our lives, is found in His will. May the Virgin Mother guide us along this path and grant us her divine Son’s grace to be able to dedicate our lives, in the love of Jesus, to the service of others”.
During his greetings to the groups present at today’s audience, the Pope addressed the 3,000 students participating in the International UNIV Congress sponsored by the Opus Dei prelature. “I hope”, he said, “that these Roman day will be the occasion for you to rediscover the person of Christ and a strong ecclesial experience, so that you may return home inspired by the desire to witness to the mercy of the heavenly Father. May your lives thus realize what St. Josemaria Escriva described: “Your bearing and conversation were such that, on seeing or hearing you, people would say: This man reads the life of Jesus Christ”.
AG/ VIS 20110420 (590)