Pope Francis remembers victims of wars, violence during Holy Week

Pope Francis said he is thinking of the innocent victims of war, everyday violence, and abortion who are “crucified in our time” during the observance of the Holy Week.

“By adoring the Cross, we will relive the journey of the innocent Lamb sacrificed for our salvation,” the pope said during the weekly general audience in the Vatican on March 31.

“We will carry in our minds and hearts the sufferings of the sick, the poor, the rejected of this world,” he said, adding that “we will remember the ‘sacrificed lambs,’ the innocent victims of wars, dictatorships, everyday violence, abortions.”

“Before the image of the crucified God, we will bring, in prayer, the many, the too many who are crucified in our time, who can only receive from Him the comfort and meaning of their suffering.”

Speaking from the Vatican’s Apostolic Palace, the pope urged Catholics “not to forget today’s crucified ones” because “in them is Jesus.”

Pope Francis said that it is important to remember that “every time the Eucharist is offered” it is “as if we were going to Calvary … to renew the Paschal mystery again.”

“In this Sacrament, Jesus replaced the sacrificial victim — the Paschal lamb — with Himself. His Body and Blood give us salvation from the slavery of sin and death. Salvation from all slavery is found there,” the pope said.

Jesus on the cross entered into “the abyss of suffering … these calamities of this world, to redeem and transform,” he said. “And also to free each of us from the power of darkness, from pride, from the resistance to being loved by God.”

“Because the world is in darkness. Let’s make a list of all the wars that are being fought right now, of all children who are dying of hunger, children who have no education, of entire peoples destroyed by wars, by terrorism,” said the pontiff.

“Of the many, many people who need medicine to feel a little better, the pharmaceutical industry that kills — it is a calamity, a desert,” he added.

The pope said that because “Jesus took upon himself the wounds of humanity and death itself, God’s love has irrigated these deserts of ours, he has enlightened our darkness.”

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