Pope Francis has urged the faithful to celebrate “domestic liturgy” with the crucifix and the Bible during the observance of the Easter Triduum.
The three-day observance begins with the liturgy on the evening of Holy Thursday and reaches its high point in the Easter Vigil, and closes with evening prayer on Easter Sunday.
In his message during a general audience on April 8, the pontiff urged the faithful to live Holy Week and the Triduum as “one great domestic liturgy.”
“Look at the crucifix and read the Gospel,” said Pope Francis.
“In these days of quarantine when we are secluded at home, let’s take these two things in our hands: The Crucified One — let’s look at Him — and the Gospel,” he added.
“It will be for us like a great domestic liturgy because we cannot go to church,” he said.
The pope said that during these weeks, which he described as “filled with anxiety and suffering because of the pandemic,” people ask what God has been doing.
“What does He do in the face of our pain? Where is He when everything is going wrong? Why doesn’t He solve the problems immediately?” said Pope Francis.
He said the account of Jesus’ Passion, which is remembered during the Holy Week, should help everyone “to go forward with trust and hope.”
The pope said the Gospels showed that many questions were also raised during the time of the Lord’s Passion.
“They expected a powerful and triumphant Messiah yielding a sword,” he said. Instead, Jesus was meek and humble of heart, calling for conversion and mercy.
Pope Francis reminded the faithful that the crowd, who were singing praises when they greeted Jesus during his entry to Jerusalem, were the same people who called for his crucifixion.
They were confused and frightened, said the pope, adding that even “those who followed Him abandoned Him.”
“They were thinking: If this is Jesus’ fate, He is not the Messiah, because God is strong and invincible.”
But Pope Francis said the Gospel account of the Passion offered “something surprising.”
“When Jesus died, a Roman centurion, a man who was not a believer, but had seen Him suffer on the Cross, who had heard Him forgive those who had harmed Him, was touched by His infinite love and said: ‘Truly, this man was the Son of God,'” said the pontiff.
Pope Francis said Jesus revealed the true face of God by saying the opposite of what others were saying.
He said God revealed Himself completely on the Cross, reminding the faithful not to forget that the Cross is the “chair” of God.
“It will do us good to look at the Crucified One in silence and see who our Lord is: He does not point His finger at anyone, but opens His arms wide to all, even to the one who is crucifying Him; He does not crush us with his glory, but allows Himself to be undressed for us; He does not love us with words, but gives us life in silence,” said Pope Francis.
He called on the faithful “to free ourselves from prejudices about God, and to look at the Crucified One” especially during the Holy Week.
“God’s love healed our sin with His forgiveness at Easter by making death a passage that changed our fear into trust and our anguish into hope,” he said.
“That is why on Easter morning we are told: Do not be afraid! We are not alone, God does not forget us,” he said.