Pope Francis began his catechesis at this Wednesday’s general audience discussing the liturgy of the day, which recounts Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.
Reflecting on the sad episode, Francis underscored themes of how Jesus was killed, the seemingly contradictory nature of God’s actions, and how faithful should express their gratitude to Jesus daily.
Emphasizing that Jesus was completely selfless, Francis reiterated Jesus’ words: “‘I lay down my life … No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord.’”
Recalling the common death that the Son of Man would take on for our sins, Francis added that death on a cross is “the worst death — that reserved for slaves and criminals.” He continued, “Jesus was considered a prophet, but he died as a criminal.”
For this, Francis highlighted several times during his address how and why faithful should express gratitude to Jesus: “We think so much of Jesus’ grief this week and we say to ourselves: this is for me. Even if I were the only person in the world, he would have done it. He did it for me. We kiss the crucifix and we say: for me, thank you Jesus, for me.”
Highlighting later a characteristic of God which seems almost to be a contradiction, the Pontiff said, “God shows us a humble victory which humanly seems a failure. We can say that God conquers in failure!”
“When all seems lost,” said Francis, “it is then that God intervenes with the power of the Resurrection.”
Pope Francis stressed that the Resurrection was not “the happy ending of a beautiful fable” nor was it “the happy end of a film.” He stated, it was “the intervention of God the Father when human hope is shattered. In the moment in which everything seems to be lost.” He added, “The night becomes darker in fact, before the morning begins, before the light begins. God intervenes in the darkest moment and resuscitates.”
Turning to how we can relate to this truth, he said: “In certain moments of life, we find some way to come out of our difficulties, when we sink into the thickest darkness … the moment of our humiliation and total stripping, the hour in which we experience that we are fragile and sinners.”
Noting how faithful should react to this condition, he continued, “It is in fact then, in that moment, that we must not mask our failure, but open ourselves confidently to hope in God, as Jesus did.”
Francis closed directing those in St. Peter’s Square, during this Holy Week, to “take the cross in hand and kiss it a lot, a lot and to say: thank you, Jesus, thank you, Lord.”
Greeting pilgrims’ from around the world gathered in St. Peter’s Square, Francis gave a special welcome to those from English-speaking countries, noting those present from the NATO Defense College, and said he invoked upon them the gifts of the Spirit for a fruitful celebration of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of the Lord. (D.C.L.)
On Zenit’s Web Page:
Full Translation: http://www.zenit.org/en/articles/on-holy-week–3