World Youth Day

WATCH: A moving highlight from the Way of the Cross at World Youth Day

The power of the cross, and the witnesses to it

So they took Jesus, and carrying the cross himself, he went out to what is called the Place of the Skull, in Hebrew, Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, with Jesus in the middle.

Pilate also had an inscription written and put on the cross. It read, “Jesus the Nazorean, the King of the Jews.”

Now many of the Jews read this inscription, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek.

So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that he said, ‘I am the King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
[…]

When Jesus saw his mother* and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.

After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled,* Jesus said, “I thirst.”

There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
— from chapter 19 of John’s Gospel

One of the young people carrying the cross during this devotion is a Syrian refugee named Maher, who spoke to us at Aleteia:

What does the Way of the Cross mean for you? Many find it a difficult kind of prayer.

The Way of the Cross is precisely what I experience first-hand being a Syrian: a lot of blood, suffering and death. We, Syrians do not wish anyone to experience what we need to deal with. When I look at what happened in France recently, I am thinking now about the assassination of a priest, we deal with this in Syria on a daily basis. That is why I have brought my country’s flag specifically for this event.

Do you sometimes ask yourself why you and your country suffer so much?

I do not, since such things simply happen in life. It is true that this is a horror which has been going on for years now and there is no end to it in sight. Everyone is against us. There is no one to speak for us. May God be with us and protect us.

Read the whole interview here.