Pope Francis says "...let us place ourselves before the Crucified One, the wellspring of our peace, and ask him for peace of heart and peace in the world." FULL TEXT + Video


Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 13 April 2022



Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!

We are in the middle of Holy Week, which lasts from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. Both these Sundays are characterized by the feast that takes place around Jesus. But they are two different feasts.

Last Sunday, we saw Christ solemnly entering Jerusalem, as though for a feast, welcomed as the Messiah: cloaks (cf. Lk 19:36) and branches cut from trees (cf Mt 21:8) were laid before him on the ground. The exultant crowd loudly blesses “the King who comes”, and acclaims “Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” (Lk 19: 38). Those people there celebrate because they see Jesus’ entry as the arrival of a new king, who would bring peace and glory. That was the peace those people were waiting for: a glorious peace, the fruit of royal intervention, that of a powerful messiah who would have liberated Jerusalem from the Roman occupation. Others probably dreamed of the re-establishment of a social peace and saw Jesus as the ideal king, who would feed the crowd with bread, as he had done already, and would work great miracles, thus bringing more justice into the world.

But Jesus never speaks of this. He has a different Passover ahead of him, not a triumphal Passover.  

 The only thing that he is concerned about in the preparation of his entry into Jerusalem is to ride “a colt tied, on which no-one has ever yet sat” (v. 30). This is how Christ brings peace into the world: through meekness and mildness, symbolized by that tethered colt, on which no-one had ever sat. No-one, because God’s way of doing things is different to that of the world. Indeed, just before Passover, Jesus explains to the disciples, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you” (Jn 14:27). They are two different approaches: the way the world gives us peace, and the way God gives us peace. They are different.

The peace Jesus gives to us at Easter is not the peace that follows the strategies of the world, which believes it can obtain it through force, by conquest and with various forms of imposition. This peace, in reality, is only an interval between wars: we are well aware of this. The peace of the Lord follows the way of meekness and the cross: it is taking responsibility for others. Indeed, Christ took on himself our evil, sin and death. He took all of this upon himself. In this way he freed us. He paid for us. His peace is not the fruit of some compromise, but rather is born of self-giving. This meek and courageous peace, though, is difficult to accept. In fact, the crowd who exalted Jesus is the same that a few days later will shout, “Crucify him!” and, fearful and disappointed, will not lift a finger for him.

In this regard, a great story by Dostoevsky, the so-called Legend of The Grand Inquisitor, is always relevant. It tells of Jesus who, after several centuries, returns to Earth. He is immediately welcomed by the rejoicing crowd, which recognizes and acclaims him. “Ah, you have returned! Come, come with us!”. But then he is arrested by the Inquisitor, who represents worldly logic. The latter interrogates him and criticizes him fiercely. The final reason for the rebuke is that Christ, although he could, never wanted to become Caesar, the greatest king of this world, preferring to leave humanity free rather than subjugate it and solve its problems by force. He could have established peace in the world, bending the free but precarious heart of man by force of a higher power, but he chose not to: he respected our freedom. “Hadst Thou taken the world and Caesar’s purple, Thou wouldst have founded the universal state and given universal peace” (The Brothers Karamazov, Milan 2012, 345); and with a lashing sentence he concludes, “For it anyone has ever deserved our fires, it is Thou” (348). Here is the deception that is repeated throughout history, the temptation of a false peace, based on power, which then leads to hatred and betrayal of God, and much bitterness in the soul.

In the end, according to the story, the Inquisaitor “longed for [Jesus] to say something, however bitter and terrible”. But Jesus reacts with a gentle and concrete gestures: “He suddenly approached the old man in silence and softly kissed him on his bloodless aged lips” (352). Jesus’ peace does not overpower others; it is not an armed peace, never! The weapons of the Gospel are prayer, tenderness, forgiveness and freely-given love for one’s neighbour, love for every neighbour. This is how God’s peace is brought into the world. This is why the armed aggression of these days, like every war, represents an outrage against God, a blasphemous betrayal of the Lord of Passover, a preference for the face of the false god of this world over his meek one. War is always a human act, to bring about the idolatry of power.

Before his final Passover, Jesus says to his disciples: “Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (Jn 14:27). Yes, because while worldly power leaves only destruction and death in its wake – we have seen this in recent days – his peace builds up history, starting from the heart of every person who welcomes us. Easter is therefore the true feast of God and humanity, because the peace that Christ gained on the cross in giving himself is distributed to us. Therefore, the Risen Christ, on Easter Day, appears to the disciples, and how does he greet them? “Peace be with you!” (Jn 20:19-21). This is the greeting of Christ victorious, the Risen Christ.

Brothers, sisters, Easter means “passage”. This year above all, it is a blessed occasion to pass from the worldly god to the Christian God, from the greed that we carry within us to the charity that sets us free, from the expectation of a peace brought by force to the commitment to bear real witness to the peace of Jesus. Brothers and sisters, let us place ourselves before the Crucified One, the wellspring of our peace, and ask him for peace of heart and peace in the world.


Special Greetings:

Je salue cordialment les personnes de langue française présentes aujourd'hui, particulièrement les groupes de jeunes venus de France et de Belgique. Quand les jeunes sont là, il ya du bruit, hein? Et çà, c'est beau! Ce matin, demandons au Seigneur de nous preparer à vivre en union avec him les jours de la Passion et de la Résurrection. Que notre prière accompagne en particulier tous ceux qui traversent ces jours saints in the abandonment, la guerre ou la difficulté. Que Dieu vous bénisse!

I cordially greet the French-speaking faithful present today, especially the young people. When there are young people there is noise, huh? And this is beautiful! This morning, we ask the Lord to prepare us to live the days of the Passion and Resurrection in union with him. May our prayer accompany in particular all those who are going through these holy days in abandonment, in war and in difficulties. God bless you! ]

I greet the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors taking part in today's Audience, especially those from the United States of America. May the celebration of Easter be a time of grace and renewal for everyone. Upon each of you, and your families, I invoke joy and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ.

Liebe Gläubige deutscher Sprache, ich lade euch ein, in den liturgischen Feiern des österlichen Triduums den Weg des Herrn innerlich mitzugehen - diesen Weg der liebevollen Selbsthingabe, der zu jenem wahren Frieden führt, den der Herr für uns möchte.

Dear German-speaking faithful, I invite you to follow the path of the Lord inwardly in the liturgical celebrations of the Easter Triduum; this journey of loving self-giving, which leads us to that true peace that the Lord wants for us. ]

Saludo especiale a los peregrinos de lengua española, en particular a los jóvenes que participan en el Encuentro internacional Univ 2022. En estos días santos acompañamos a Jesús en su Pasión, Muerte y Resurrección. Pidámosle que, así como Pascua means “paso”, también nosotros seamos capaces de “dar pasos” de reconciliación. Y que su paz of him reine en nuestros corazones y en el mundo entero. Que Dios los bendiga. Muchas gracias.

Queridos peregrinos de língua portuguesa! Amanhã começamos a celebração do Sagrado Tríduo da Paixão, Morte e Ressurreição de Nosso Senhor, or Príncipe da Paz. Peçamos-Lhe este dom, do qual o mundo has so much necessidade. Vos desejo uma Feliz and Santa Páscoa!

Dear Portuguese-speaking pilgrims! Tomorrow we begin the celebration of the Sacred Triduum of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord, the Prince of Peace. Let us ask him for this gift which the world so badly needs. I wish you a happy and holy Easter! ]

أُحَيِّي المُؤمِنِينَ الناطِقينَ باللغَةِ العَرَبِيَّة. باقْتِرابِ عِيدِ الفِصْح ، لِنَتَذَكَّرْ أَنَّ يَسوعَ هُوَ سَلامُنا. لِذَلِك لِنُلِقِ عَلَيْهِ هَمَّنا وَخَوْفَنا. لأَنَّ المُؤْمِنَ مُطْمَئِنٌ حَتَّى في الشِدَّةِ وَيَثِقُ أَنَّ كُلَّ شَيء ، مَعَ يَسُوعَ المَسيح ، سَيَتَحَوَّلُ إِلي. لا تَخافُوا! باركَكُم الرّبُّ جَميعًا وحَماكُم دائِمًا مِن كُلِّ شَرّ!

I greet the Arabic-speaking faithful. As the feast of Easter approaches, let us remember that Jesus is our peace. So we place our worries and our fear in Him. Because the believer is confident even in anguish and trusts that with Jesus Christ everything will turn to our good. Do not be afraid. The Lord bless you all and always protect you from all evil! ]

Pozdrawiam serdecznie wszystkich Polaków. W tym roku obchodzicie Wielki Tydzień i Wielkanoc w Sposaób szczególny: razem z wieloma gośćmi z Ukrainy. Wielkanoc to święta rodzinne, a wy, otwierając im wasze domy, staliście się ich rodziną. Chociaż większość z nich, zgodnie z tradycją wschodnią, będzie obchodzić te święta tydzień później, już teraz, wszyscy razem wpatrujecie się w Ukrzyżowanego i oczekujecie na zmartwokiej ukrzyżowanego i oczekujecie na zmartwok Z serca wam błogosławię.

I cordially greet all the Poles. Celebrate Holy Week and Easter in a special way this year: together with many Ukrainian guests. Easter is a family celebration and you, by opening your homes to them, have become their family. Although most of them will celebrate these feasts a week later, according to Eastern tradition, already now all of you together contemplate the Crucifix, and await the resurrection of Christ and peace in Ukraine. I bless you from my heart. ]

I extend a cordial welcome to the Italian-speaking pilgrims. The Easter Triduum is now before us, the culmination of the liturgical year and of the life of the Church. I invite you to arrange your hearts to follow the celebrations for the coming days with faith.

Finally, as usual, my thoughts go to the elderly, the sick, the young and the newlyweds. In this Holy Week, respond generously to Christ who calls us to unite ourselves more deeply to his death and resurrection. He wants to fill us with his life, giving us a "hope that does not disappoint".

My blessing to all of you!