Jesus on the cross loved me and sacrificed himself for me, and delivered his body and blood into our hands to be always with us and dwell in our midst.
This morning, Wednesday, Pope Francis conducted his first public interview with the faithful in Saint Peter’s Square in the Vatican. He began his weekly teaching by saying: I am pleased to welcome you to my first public interview. Today I would like to stop at Holy Week.
On Palm Sunday we inaugurate this week in which we accompany Jesus in his passion, death, and resurrection. But what does Holy Week mean to us? What does it mean to follow Jesus in his walk on Calvary towards the Cross and resurrection? In his earthly message,
Jesus walked on the paths of the Holy City. He invited twelve simple people to stay with Him, share His journey, and continue His mission. The Holy Father continued: Jesus spoke to everyone, without discrimination, with the elderly and with the humble, with the rich young man and the poor widow, with the powerful and the weak.
He bore the mercy and forgiveness of God, healed, comforted, and understood. He brought to all the presence of God who cares for every man and woman, as any good father or mother does to each of their children. God did not wait for us to go to Him, but came to us, without calculations and criteria.
Jesus lived the daily reality of ordinary people: he was moved before the crowd that began as a flock without a shepherd, he wept before the pain of Martha and Mary over the death of their brother Lazarus, he called the publican to be his disciple, and he lived the betrayal of a friend.
Through Jesus, God
Gave us the certainty that He is with us and in our midst. “Foxes have holes, and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nothing on which to lay his head” (Matthew 8:20) Jesus has no home because his home is people, and his mission is to open to all the doors of God and to be the presence of God’s love.
The Pope added, “We live in Holy Week, the summit of this procession, and this scheme of love that permeates throughout the history of relations between God and humanity.” Jesus entered Jerusalem to complete the last step by which he summarized his entire existence: to give himself completely. The Son of God gave himself to us, and delivered his body and blood into our hands, to be always with us and dwell in our midst.
Jesus does not live this love that leads him to sacrifice as an inevitable fate and does not hide his deep human turmoil in the face of a cruel death, but he surrenders with complete confidence to the Father. Jesus gave himself freely to death to answer the love of God the Father and, in perfect union with his will, to show us his love. On the cross, Jesus “loved me and sacrificed himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
What does all this mean to us?
This means that this path is also my path, your path, and our path. To live Holy Week by following Jesus means to learn to come out of ourselves, to meet others, to go first to our brothers and sisters. Especially those who are far and forgotten and most in need of understanding, consolation, and help.
Live Holy Week
It is entering into the logic of God, the logic of the cross, the logic of love, and the gift of life that gives life. It is an entry into the logic of the Gospel, for following Christ, accompanying him, and staying with him requires an “exit” from self. And the Pope added: Some may say to me: “Father, I do not have time”, or “I have a lot to do”, or “It is difficult”, or “What can I do with my weak strength and my sin?
We often content ourselves with some prayers or Sunday Mass.” From time to time or some acts of love, but we don’t dare to “go out” to carry Christ Jesus on the cross loved me.
Thus, we resemble Saint Peter. As soon as Jesus spoke of pain, death, and resurrection, Peter was alone with him and began to reprimand him, because what Jesus said did not fit the idea that the disciples had formed about Christ. Then Jesus turned to the disciples and addressed Peter with one of the harshest expressions that we find in the Gospels:
“Depart from me, Satan, for your thoughts are not the thoughts of God, but the thoughts of men” (mk 8:33). God always thinks of mercy, he is a merciful father, and he thinks like a father waiting for his son’s return and goes out to meet him when he sees him coming from afar. God thinks like a shepherd who gives his life to the young of his sheep and saves them.
Pope Francis concluded his weekly teaching by saying:
The Holy Week is a time of yes that God gives us to open the doors of our hearts and our lives, our parishes, and our organizations to “go out” to meet others, to come close to them, and carry the light and joy of our faith. I wish everyone to live these days by courageously following the Lord, bearing within us the ray of his love for those we meet. (Google translate)
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