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Jesus from the Supper went toward the Cross, went toward his resurrection – he entered into the paschal mystery; and Peter could not follow him.
Now – after the resurrection – comes the time, comes this “afterward.” By shepherding the flock of Christ, Peter enters into the paschal mystery, he goes toward the cross and the resurrection.
The Lord says this in these words: “‘....when you were younger, you used to fasten your own belt and to go wherever you wished. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will fasten a belt around you and take you where you do not wish to go (John 21:18).
In the first years of his pontificate, still young and full of energy, the Holy Father went to very ends of the earth, guided by Christ. But afterward, he increasingly entered into the communion of Christ's sufferings; increasingly he understood the truth of the words: “Someone else will fasten a belt around you.” And in the very communion with the suffering Lord, tirelessly and with renewed intensity, he proclaimed the Gospel, the mystery of that love which goes to the end (John 13:1).
He interpreted for us the paschal mystery as a mystery of divine mercy. In his last book, he wrote: The limit imposed upon evil “is ultimately Divine Mercy” (“Memory and Identity,” p. 60-61). And reflecting on the assassination attempt, he said: “In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order: the order of love. ... It is this suffering that burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good.” Impelled by this vision, the Pope suffered and loved in communion with Christ, and that is why the message of his suffering and his silence proved so eloquent and so fruitful.
Divine Mercy: the Holy Father found the purest reflection of God's mercy in the Mother of God. He who at an early age had lost his own mother, loved his divine mother all the more. He heard the words of the crucified Lord as addressed personally to him: “Behold your Mother.” And so he did as the beloved disciple did: he took her into his own home;” (John 19:27)
– Totus tuus. And from the mother he learned to conform himself to Christ.
None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing urbi et orbi. We can be sure that our beloved pope is standing today at the window of the Father's house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day and who will guide you now to the eternal glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.