Excerpts from the Holy Father’s Wednesday Audience via the site of Vatican Radio:
Today there is “a certain callousness of the soul towards the power of evil, an insensitivity to all the evil in the world: we do not want to be disturbed by these things, we want to forget, perhaps, we think, it is not important. It is not only insensitivity to evil, but also insensitivity to God”, said Pope Benedict XVI Wednesday as he dedicated his last catechesis before Easter to the Holy Week Triduum.
He said “Dear Brothers and Sisters, Tomorrow marks the beginning of the Easter Triduum, the three days in which the Church commemorates the mystery of the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. The liturgies of these days invite us to ponder the loving obedience of Christ who, having become like us in all things but sin, resisted temptation and freely surrendered himself to the Father’s will. Tomorrow, at the Chrism Mass, priests renew their ordination promises, the sacred oils are blessed, and we celebrate the grace of the crucified and risen Lord which comes to us through the Church’s sacramental life. On the evening of Holy Thursday, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper begins the actual Triduum and recalls the institution of the sacraments of the Eucharist and Holy Orders”.
Reflecting more specifically on the episode of Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane, in comments in Italian the Pope noted that – not unlike the apostles who failed to hold vigil with Christ and were overcome by a “sleepiness” – “It ‘s our very sleepiness to the presence of God that renders us insensitive to evil: we don’t hear God because we don’t want to be disturbed, and so we remain indifferent to evil” [Though isn’t it interesting that so much of our entertainment in the form of TV or movies or video games, and new reporting, is relentlessly filled with evil actions and images? Desensitizing, isn’t it?]
Pope Benedict said that “Jesus experienced great anguish, such suffering as to sweat blood, aware of his imminent death on the cross”, but chooses to keep watch. This is “a matter of great importance for the Church” said Pope Benedict: “Jesus says to his disciples ‘stay here and keep vigil’, and this appeal to be vigilant concerns precisely this moment of anguish, of threat, but it also covers the entire history of the Church, it is a permanent message for all time because the disciples’ sleepiness is not a problem of that one moment, rather of the whole of history, “the sleepiness” is ours, of those of us who do not want to see the full force of evil and do not want to enter into his Passion”.
He concluded “The Liturgy of Good Friday invites us to share in Christ’s sufferings through penance and fasting, and to receive the gift of God’s love flowing from the Lord’s pierced Heart. The Easter Vigil joyfully proclaims Christ’s resurrection from the dead and the new life received in Baptism. By your prayers and our sharing in these liturgies, let us resolve to imitate Christ’s loving obedience to the Father’s saving plan, which is the source of authentic freedom and the path of eternal life”.