The Holy Father´s Week: April 13, 2009

A report on Benedict XVI´s messages and activities.
by Maribel de Torres | Source:

The Easter triduum is the fulcrum of the entire liturgical year, Benedict XVI reflected at the general audience. Holy Thursday, he said, is "a renewed invitation to render thanks to God for the supreme gift of the Eucharist, to be received with devotion and to be adored with lively faith."
Good Friday, the Pontiff continued, is the "day of the Passion and crucifixion of the Lord. Every year, placing ourselves in silence before Jesus nailed to the wood of the cross, we realize how full of love were the words he pronounced on the eve, in the course of the Last Supper." “We are placed before something that humanly might seem absurd: a God who not only is made man, with all man's needs, not only suffers to save man, burdening himself with all the tragedy of humanity, but dies for man.”
"Christ's death recalls the accumulation of sorrows and evils that beset humanity of all times: the crushing weight of our dying, the hatred and violence that again today bloody the earth. The Lord's Passion continues in the suffering of men."  “We are accompanied on this journey by the Holy Virgin, who in silence followed her son Jesus to Calvary, taking part with great sorrow in his sacrifice, thus cooperating with the mystery of the Redemption and becoming Mother of all believers (cf. John 19:25-27).
"Hope," Benedict XVI explained, "is nourished in the great silence of Holy Saturday, awaiting the resurrection of Jesus.” "Proclaimed once again will be the victory of light over darkness, of life over death, and the Church will rejoice in the encounter with her Lord," he added. "We will thus enter into the climate of the Easter of Resurrection." VATICAN CITY, APRIL 8, 2009

To experience God's love and to learn how to love others, enter into the mystery of the Eucharist,  encouraged the Holy Father in the homily of Holy Thursday Mass. "Let us pray that we will look upon the world with eyes of love," he added, "with the eyes of Jesus, recognizing our brothers and sisters who need our help, who are awaiting our word and our action."
The act of breaking the bread "is the act of the father of the family who looks after his children and gives them what they need for life," the Pontiff affirmed. "Dividing, sharing brings about unity. Through sharing, communion is created. In the broken bread, the Lord distributes himself.” He continued, “Jesus allows himself to be broken as living bread." The Holy Father explained that when "Jesus transforms the bread; he no longer gives earthly bread, but communion with himself." He added: "This transformation, though, seeks to be the start of the transformation of the world -- into a world of resurrection, a world of God.” Upon concluding, the Pontiff prayed: "Lord, today you give us your life, you give us yourself. Enter deeply within us with your love."  VATICAN CITY, APRIL 9, 2009
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Christ's suffering during his passion and death moves even the hardest of hearts as it reveals the fullness of God's love for mankind, said Benedict XVI at the end of the Way of the Cross at Rome's Colosseum. The Pope reflected on the words of the centurion whom St. Mark quotes at the end of his Passion narrative: "The centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, and said: ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!’" "This Roman army officer” the Holy Father explained, “having witnessed the execution of one of countless condemned prisoners, was able to recognize in this crucified man the Son of God, who had perished in the most humiliating abandonment."
The Holy Father invited to contemplate the face of the Man of sorrows, “who took upon himself the burden of all our mortal anguish. His face is reflected in that of every person who is humiliated and offended, sick and suffering, alone, abandoned and despised. Pouring out his blood, he has rescued us from the slavery of death, he has broken the solitude of our tears, he has entered into our every grief and our every anxiety”. ROME, APRIL 10, 2009

The Lord’s saving hand holds the Church." During his homily Saturday in St. Peter's Basilica, the Holy Father reflected on the three main symbols used at the Easter Vigil: Light, water and the new song-the Alleluia. "The resurrection of Jesus is an eruption of light," he explained. "Death is conquered, the tomb is thrown open. The Risen One himself is Light, the Light of the world. With the resurrection, the Lord’s day enters the nights of history” 
Speaking about water, the Pontiff said: "Without water there is no life. It is striking how much importance is attached to wells in sacred Scripture. They are places from which life rises forth. Beside Jacob’s well, Christ spoke to the Samaritan woman of the new well, the water of true life."
Benedict XVI then reflected on the third symbol, "the singing of the new song -- the alleluia." "When a person experiences great joy, he cannot keep it to himself," he explained. "He has to express it, to pass it on. But what happens when a person is touched by the light of the resurrection, and thus comes into contact with Life itself, with Truth and Love? He cannot merely speak about it. Speech is no longer adequate. He has to sing."
"While, strictly speaking, she ought to be sinking, the Church sings the song of thanksgiving of the saved. She is standing on history’s waters of death and yet she has already risen. Singing, she grasps at the Lord’s hand, which holds her above the waters.
“The Lord’s saving hand holds us up, and thus we can already sing the song of the saved, the new song of the risen ones: Alleluia!" VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2009
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"What is there after death?" The Holy Father asked at the beginning of the Easter message he delivered from St. Peter's balcony before he imparted his blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world)." To quote Saint Augustine, "Resurrectio Domini, spes nostra – the resurrection of the Lord is our hope.With these words, the great Bishop explained to the faithful that Jesus rose again so that we, though destined to die, should not despair, worrying that with death life is completely finished; Christ is risen to give us hope”. The message of Easter, the Pontiff explained, is that: Death does not have the last word, because Life will be victorious at the end.
 “This certainty of ours is based not on simple human reasoning, but on a historical fact of faith: Jesus Christ, crucified and buried, is risen with his glorified body. Jesus is risen so that we too, believing in him, may have eternal life.” Christ's death and resurrection is a historical event, the Holy Father asserted. 
“It is a fact that if Christ had not risen; the "emptiness" would be set to prevail. If we take away Christ and his resurrection, there is no escape for man, and every one of his hopes remains an illusion. Yet today is the day when the proclamation of the Lord’s resurrection vigorously bursts forth.”
Christ’s resurrection has launched a peaceful battle, he continued. He has destroyed the root of evil, but “he still wants the assistance of men and women in every time and place who help him to affirm his victory using his own weapons: the weapons of justice and truth, mercy, forgiveness and love," 
The Holy Father said that this was his message he carried to Africa last month during his visit to Cameroon and Angola, and the message he wishes to carry to the Holy Land in May.
The Holy Father wished all a blessed Easter VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2009
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"Christ, our Paschal lamb, has been sacrificed!". On this day, "Saint Paul’s triumphant words ring forth”, the Pope exclaimed during his homily at Easter Mass in St. Peter's Basilica. “The Hebrew Passover, commemorating the liberation from slavery in Egypt, provided for the ritual sacrifice of a lamb every year, one for each family, as prescribed by the Mosaic Law.” He explained, “In his passion and death, Jesus reveals himself as the Lamb of God, "sacrificed" on the Cross, to take away the sins of the world.” 
“Jesus brought to fulfilment the tradition of the ancient Passover, and transformed it into his Passover.”
The Holy Father continued meditating on another symbol of the ancient Passover, the unleavened bread; which was a symbol of purification: removing the old to make space for the new. 
“And since Christ, as the true Lamb, sacrificed himself for us,” he said, “ we too, his disciples – thanks to him and through him – can and must be the "new dough", the "unleavened bread", liberated from every residual element of the old yeast of sin: no more evil and wickedness in our heart.”
The Holy Father exhorted to sing the new song-the Alleluia “above all with our hearts and our lives, with a manner of life that is "unleavened", that is to say, simple, humble, and fruitful in good works.” VATICAN CITY, APRIL 12, 2009

Other papal messages and activities:

"Celebrate and live your faith with immense joy, which is a gift of the Spirit”. The Pope urged
 a delegation of youth from Madrid, which is the host city for the 2011 World Youth Day.
"Life is a journey, certainly. But it is not an uncertain journey without a fixed destiny; it leads to Christ, the end of human life and history. On this journey you will meet with him who gave his life for love, and opens to you the doors of eternal life." The Holy Father said, "Pray in common, opening the doors of your parishes, associations and movements so that all can feel at home in the Church, in which they are loved with the very love of God," VATICAN CITY, APRIL 6, 2009

Benedict XVI expressed deep sorrow for victims of the earthquake that struck Italy in the Abruzzo area. The Pontiff sent a telegram giving assurances of his fervent prayers for the victims, especially the children, and asking the Lord to bring comfort to their families. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 6, 2009

The Holy Father sent aid to earthquake victims. The Vatican sent a structural engineer and a team of firemen, with resources for civil protection and aid for the population. The team is working in collaboration with the Italian emergency services in one of the most affected areas, the village of Onna, where 41 of the 250 inhabitants perished. ROME, APRIL 7, 2009

Benedict XVI appointed two new auxiliary bishops for Quebec, Father Paul Lortie of the archdiocesan clergy, and Father Gerard Lacroix.  Also today, the Holy Father appointed Father Sebastian Kallupura of the clergy of Patna, India, as bishop of Buxar QUEBEC CITY, APRIL 7, 2009

Benedict XVI hopes to visit area affected by earthquake. "Once again, I want to say to those people that the Pope shares your pain and your concern; very dear ones, I hope to be able to visit you as soon as possible.” "Know that the Pope prays for all, imploring the Lord's mercy for the deceased, Mary's maternal consolation and the support of Christian hope for your families and the survivors." The Holy Father said to during the general audience in St. Peter's Square. VATICAN CITY, APRIL 8, 2009

"Being United to Christ Calls for Renunciation" Benedict XVI said to the cardinals, bishops and priests of Rome at the Chrism Mass which he concelebrated at St. Peter's. “The Lord asks for our sanctification, sanctification in truth. And he sends us forth to carry on his own mission” he affirmed. 
Christ’s words, “Sanctify them in the truth” means, in the deepest sense: make them one with me, Christ. The Holy Father explained, “Bind them to me. Draw them into me. Indeed, when all is said and done, there is only one priest of the New Covenant, Jesus Christ himself. Consequently, the priesthood of the disciples can only be a participation in the priesthood of Jesus. Our being priests is simply a new way of being united to Christ.” " Being united to Christ calls for renunciation. It means not wanting to impose our own way and our own will, not desiring to become someone else, but abandoning ourselves to him, however and wherever he wants to use us. As Saint Paul said: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me" (Gal 2:20). VATICAN CITY, APRIL 9, 2009

A prayer for the Holy Father  

Christ Jesus, King and Lord of the Church, in your presence I renew my unconditional loyalty to your Vicar on earth, the Pope. In him you have chosen to show us the safe and sure path that we must follow in the midst of confusion, uneasiness, and unrest. I firmly believe that through him you govern, teach, and sanctify us; with him as our shepherd, we form the true Church: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic. Grant me the grace to love, live, and spread faithfully our Holy Father’s teachings. Watch over his life, enlighten his mind, strengthen his spirit, defend him from calumny and evil. Calm the erosive winds of infidelity and disobedience. Hear our prayer and keep your Church united around him, firm in its belief and action, that it may truly be the instrument of your redemption. Amen. 

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