During Holy Week, Pope Francis has evoked the drama of the Passion of Jesus also to face two great challenges of humanity: the refugee crisis and terrorist threats.
On Palm Sunday, in line with the physical and moral humiliation that Jesus suffered, he lamented that even today nations with Christian foundations ignore many refugees.
"Jesus also experienced indifference, because nobody wanted to assume responsibility for his destiny. I think now in many people, in so many immigrants, many refugees, in so many migrants, those of which many do not want to assume responsibility for their destiny.”
On Tuesday, March 22 , three terrorist attacks occurred in Brussels, known as the heart of Europe, leaving 28 dead and over a hundred injured.
During Wednesday 's general audience, the Pope prayed for all those affected, and also for the terrorists.
"Ask the Lord, during this Holy Week, to comfort the afflicted hearts and convert the hearts of these people blinded by the cruel fundamentalism.”
On Holy Thursday, the Pope kneeled before 12 men and woman, who are asylum seeking refugees. Among them were Catholics, but also Muslims and a Hindu. Pope Francis kneeled before their pain and fear from being expelled from Europe.
"Three days ago, an act of war, of destruction in a European city, by people who do not want to live in peace. But behind that gesture, just as behind Judas, there were others. Behind
Judas there were those who gave the money so that Jesus would be handed over. Behind "that" gesture, there are manufacturers, arms dealers who want blood, not peace; they want war, not brotherhood."
"We are different, we are different, we have different cultures and religions, but we are brothers and we want to live in peace."
At the ceremony, there were nearly 900 forced migrants and refugees who have crossed the Mediterranean in small boats in search of a better life. Before leaving, the Pope greeted them one by one. A gesture that perhaps no one has had with them since they fled their homes.
On Friday night, the Pope prayed at the Stations of the Cross near the Colosseum in Rome. He read a moving prayer on the crosses of our time, including terrorism.
"O Cross of Christ, today too we see you raised up in our sisters and brothers killed, burned alive, throats slit and decapitated by barbarous blades amid cowardly silence. O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in expressions of fundamentalism and in terrorist acts committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy name to justify their unprecedented violence.”
On Holy Saturday, during the Easter Vigil in St. Peter's, the Pope went further and recalled that with the resurrection of Jesus, Catholics believe that evil never has the last word.
"May the Lord free us from this trap, from being Christians without hope, who live as if the Lord were not
risen, as if our problems were the centre of our lives.”
And in the Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter Sunday, he reminded Europe of the fact that terrorism harbors a much more serious wound outside its borders.
" ... The recent attacks in Belgium, Turkey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Iraq.”
Despite the alleged fear of a terrorist attack in Rome, it proved to be one of the busiest events of Holy Week, drawing in many pilgrims.
Perhaps, this is proof that fear does not have the last word.