Pope: Come Triduum the hour of Christ

2012-04-04 Vatican Radio

“With the Holy Mass in Coena Domini, we enter the Easter Triduum, the summit of the liturgical year, to celebrate the central mystery of faith: the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. In the Gospel of St. John, the climax of the mission of Jesus is called his "hour", which opens with the Last Supper”, said Benedict XVI this Spy Wednesday as he held his General Audience in St Peter’s Square. Emer McCarthy reports Listen:

20 thousand pilgrims and tourists filled the square already laid out in preparation for the Holy Week liturgies that will culminate in Pope Benedict’s Urbi et Orbi address and benediction to the city of Rome and the world this Easter Sunday.

The Holy Father dedicated most of his catechesis to his recent pilgrimage to Mexico and Cuba, describing the days spent there as “unforgettable” and “etched” on his heart. But he also stressed that the principal aim of his visit to these nations – beyond press headlines – was to give courage and hope to the Church on the entire continent. And to affirm the need for progress in the recognition of fundamental human rights, including freedom of religion, because there is no progress in any society that "excludes God."

However, the audience was also held on the eve of the beginning of the Paschal Triduum, when the Universal Church approaches the three days that changed the world. Recalling our attention to this Pope Benedict said: “The whole life of Jesus is oriented towards this hour, characterized by two aspects that illuminate each other: this is the hour of "passage" (metabasis) and the hour of '"love (agape) until the end." In fact, it is the divine love, the Holy Spirit of which Jesus is filled, which allows Jesus to "pass" through the abyss of evil and death, and sees him emerge into the new "space" of the resurrection. It is the 'agape, the love which brings about this transformation, so that Jesus goes beyond-the limits of the human condition marked by sin and overcomes the barrier that keeps man prisoner, separated from God and eternal life”.

“By participating in faith in the liturgical celebrations of the Paschal Triduum, we are invited to experience this transformation brought about by agape. Each one of us is loved by Jesus "to the end", that is to the total gift of Himself on the cross when he cried: "It is finished!' (Jn 19.30). Let us allow ourselves to be touched by this love, to be transformed, so that the resurrection may really be realized in us. I invite you, therefore, to live the Paschal Triduum intensely, and I wish you all a Holy Easter!”

On Holy Thursday, April 5, the Pope will concelebrate the Chrism Mass in the Vatican basilica with the cardinals, bishops, and priests in Rome. Later in the day he will celebrate the Mass of the Lord’s Supper at the basilica of St. John Lateran. On Good Friday, the Pope will preside at the reading of the Passion, adoration of the Cross, and Communion in the Vatican basilica. In the evening he will travel across town to the Roman Coliseum for the Stations of the Cross. On Holy Saturday, the Pope will lead the Easter Vigil liturgy in the Vatican Basilica. On Easter Sunday morning, he will celebrate Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica and deliver his “Urbi et Orbi” message from the loggia of the basilica.