.- As Christians prepare to celebrate the Easter Triduum, which begins tomorrow evening, with the Holy Thursday service, Pope Benedict dedicated his weekly audience to this most holy of liturgical celebrations.
The Holy Father began by telling the 40,000 pilgrims who had gathered in St. Peter’s Square to hear him, that "Through the sacred rites we relive the passion, death and resurrection of our Lord, reawakening the desire to follow Jesus more closely."
He explained the meaning behind Holy Thursday, saying that the day “commemorates Christ's total giving of Himself to humanity in the sacrament of the Eucharist. Through the washing of feet, it also recalls in a dramatic way the new commandment to love one another. The day concludes with Eucharistic adoration in memory of Our Lord's agony in the Garden of Gethsemane.”
"On Good Friday,” he went on, “we listen to the account of the Passion and contemplate Christ on the Cross. This is love in its most radical form: God gives His very self, in order to raise us up and save us.”
Benedict then called Holy Saturday the day in which “the Church is spiritually united with Mary, praying by the tomb of the Son of God who lies at rest after completing His work of redemption.”
“Then, at the solemn Easter Vigil,” he said, “the joyful Gloria and Easter Alleluia rise forth from the hearts of the whole Christian community, because Christ is risen and has defeated death!"
The Pope challenged the gathered pilgrims to prepare for Easter through the Sacrament of Confession.
"We know we are sinners," he said, "but we trust in divine mercy. Let us be reconciled with Christ in order to enjoy more intensely the joy He communicates to us with His resurrection.”
The Holy Father said that Christ’s forgiveness, “which is given to us in the Sacrament of Penance, is the source of interior and exterior peace and makes us apostles of peace in a world still marked, alas, by divisions and suffering, and by the drama of injustice, hatred, violence and the incapacity to achieve reconciliation and begin again in sincere forgiveness."
Concluding his weekly catecheses Pope Benedict stressed that the celebration of the death and resurrection of Christ "gives us the certainty that evil does not have the last word; supported by this certain knowledge we can commit ourselves with greater courage and enthusiasm to creating a fairer world."