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WAY OF THE CROSS AT THE COLOSSEUM

ADDRESS OF POPE FRANCIS

Palatine Hill
Good Friday, 18 April 2014

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God placed on Jesus’ Cross all the weight of our sins, all the injustices perpetrated by every Cain against his brother, all the bitterness of the betrayal by Judas and by Peter, all the vanity of tyrants, all the arrogance of false friends. It was a heavy Cross, like night experienced by abandoned people, heavy like the death of loved ones, heavy because it carries all the ugliness of evil. However, the Cross is also glorious like the dawn after a long night, for it represents all the love of God, which is greater than our iniquities and our betrayals. In the Cross we see the monstrosity of man, when he allows evil to guide him; but we also see the immensity of the mercy of God, who does not treat us according to our sins but according to his mercy.

Before the Cross of Jesus, we apprehend in a way that we can almost touch with our hands how much we are eternally loved; before the Cross we feel that we are “children” and not “things” or “objects”, as St Gregory of Nazianzus says, addressing Christ with this prayer: “Were it not for You, O my Christ, I would feel like a finite creature. I was born and I feel myself dissolve. I eat, I sleep, I rest and I walk, I fall ill and I recover. Longings and torments without number assail me, I enjoy the sun and how the earth bears fruit. Then, I die and my flesh turns to dust just like that of animals, who have not sinned. But what have I more than them? Nothing, if not God. Were it not for you, O Christ mine, I would feel myself a lost creature. O, Our Jesus, guide us from the Cross to the resurrection and teach us that evil shall not have the last word, but love, mercy and forgiveness. O Christ, help us to exclaim again: ‘Yesterday I was crucified with Christ; today I am glorified with Him. Yesterday I died with Him, today I live with Him. Yesterday I was buried with Him, today I am raised with Him’”.

Finally, all together, let us remember the sick, let us remember all those who have been abandoned under the weight of the Cross, that they may find in the trial of the Cross the strength of hope, of hope, in the resurrection and love of God.


Meditations by H.E. Msgr. Giancarlo Maria Bregantini, Archbishop of Campobasso-Boiano
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