Hatred, Violence, Death Do Not Have the Last Word, Says John Paul II

On Eve of Triduum, He Reflects on the Death and Resurrection of Christ

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VATICAN CITY, APRIL 16, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Following the death and resurrection of Christ, hatred and violence do not have the last word, says John Paul II.



Meditating on the mysteries that Christians are reliving this Holy Week, the Pope said at today's general audience: "The mystery of the cross and Resurrection assures us that hatred, violence, blood, death do not have the last word in human affairs."

The Holy Father pointed out at the same time that Christ's passion continues in the dramatic events that afflict people today.

"The final victory is Christ's and we must start afresh from him, if we wish to build a future of authentic peace, justice and solidarity for all," the Pope explained to the more than 8,000 pilgrims gathered on a sunny morning in St. Peter's Square.

During the meditation, the Holy Father recalled the last moments of Jesus' earthly life, which culminated in the resurrection, which Christians are contemplating during these days.

Holy Thursday highlights the Eucharist, "central mystery of Christian faith and life," he said.

To underline the importance of this sacrament, John Paul II has written an encyclical entitled "Ecclesia de Eucharistia," "which I will have the joy of signing during the Mass of the Lord's Supper."

"With this text I wish to offer every believer an organic reflection on the eucharistic sacrifice, which encloses the whole spiritual good of the Church," he said.

On that same day, Christ left his Church two other gifts: the ministerial priesthood and "the new commandment of brotherly love," the Pope continued. "Through the washing of the feet, he taught his disciples that love must be translated in humble and selfless service toward one's neighbor."

"Good Friday, a day of penance and fasting, we will recall the passion and death of Jesus, remaining absorbed in adoration of the Cross," he added. "On Calvary, the Son of God took on the burden of our sins, offering himself to the Father as the victim of expiation. From the cross, source of our salvation, flows the new life of the children of God."

On Holy Saturday, with "Mary, the Christian community watches in prayer next to the sepulcher, waiting for the fulfillment of the glorious event of the Resurrection," the Pope noted.

"In the holy night of Easter, everything is renewed in the risen Christ. From every corner of the earth the singing of the Gloria and the Alleluia will rise to heaven, while light will pierce the darkness of night," he continued.

"On Easter Sunday we will exult with the Risen One, receiving from him the greeting of peace," he said at the conclusion of his review of the holy triduum.

"To recall this central mystery of faith also implies the commitment to actualize it in the concrete reality of our life," the Holy Father said. "It means to recognize that the passion of Christ continues in the dramatic events that, unfortunately, also at this time afflict so many men and women in every part of the world."