(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis held his weekly General Audience on Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square. The Holy Father dedicated his catechetical remarks to the Paschal Triduum – the three-day liturgical action that makes the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord present to the faithful each year in every generation.
Pope Francis explained that on Holy Thursday, Jesus gives himself to us as food and, in the washing of feet, teaches us the necessity of serving others, as we prepare to contemplate the supreme act of loving service, which Christ accomplishes for all humanity on the Cross.
Good Friday is the commemoration of Christ’s death on the Cross, during which we contemplate the undying divine love that embraces all mankind and summons us in turn to love one another in the power of the Spirit.
Holy Saturday is a day of silent, prayerful vigil: it invites us not only to solidarity with all who are abandoned and alone, but also to trust in that faithful love which turns death into life.
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Citing the great 14th century mystic, St. Julian of Norwich, who, in one of her visions heard the Lord say that He rejoices eternally because he was able to suffer for our sake out of love, Pope Francis departed from his prepared remarks and said, “This is our Jesus, who says to each and every one of us, ‘If I could suffer more for you, I would.’”
The Triduum, explained Pope Francis, “Is all one great mystery of love and mercy: our words are poor and insufficient to express it fully.”
Pope Francis concluded his remarks with an exhortation to us all, that we prepare ourselves to celebrate the coming days with gratitude for this great mystery of God’s mercy, poured out for us on the Cross of our salvation.
Following the main catechesis, the Holy Father offered greetings to pilgrims and tourists of various languages, including Arabic, in which he said, “The Mercy of God and His love is fully embodied, for each of us, in the face of Jesus who loved us to the end and offered Himself, so that whoever believes in the power of His Cross should not perish.” The Pope went on to say, “We pray for all who suffer for the Lord, that He might turn their sorrows into joys, their suffering into salvation and their crosses into Resurrection.” He concluded, saying, “May the Lord bless you all and protect you from the Evil One!”
At the close of the Audience, Pope Francis promised prayers for the victims of Tuesday morning’s terror attacks in Brussels, Belgium, and called on the international community and on people of good will everywhere to condemn terrorism. "I once again appeal to all people of good will to unite in the unanimous condemnation of these cruel abominations that are causing only death, terror and horror,” Pope Francis said. “I ask everyone to persevere in prayer and to ask the Lord in this Holy Week to comfort the hearts afflicted and convert the hearts of these people blinded by this cruel fundamentalism,” he added, before leading the gathered faithful in a Hail Mary and a moment of silent prayer for the victims of the Brussels attacks, their families, and the whole Belgian nation.