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Good Friday with Pope Francis

Via Crucis al Colosseo con il Santo Padre 5 – en

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA

Carly Andrews - published on 04/19/14

Today we see the monstrosity of man, mercy of God, he says.

Thousands of people squeezed into the streets surrounding the ancient Colosseum on Holy Friday – the place where the early Christians were brutally martyred – to pray the Via Crucis with Pope Francis. 

This day the bloodshed is that of our Lord’s, the price of His eternal love for us, freely given: his humiliating and violent death on a cross.

The Holy Father, with a face intense in prayer and sorrow for Christ, affirmed that “In the Cross we see the monstrosity of man, when we allow ourselves to be guided by evil."

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA

However, speaking from the heart he also reflected that in this most sorrowful event we "see the immensity of God’s mercy who does not deal according to our sins, but according to His mercy”.

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA

As we stepped through the last moments of Christ’s life, accompanying Him up to Golgotha, the crowds were hushed in silent reflection before a great cross – the centrepiece of this meditation – lit bright with flames for all to see. 

During the 14 stations a great wooden cross was also borne throughout the ancient ruins stained with Christian blood of old. At each station it was carried by homeless, prisoners, immigrants, drug addicts, elderly women and disabled people; at all times, guarded by two great candles.

And light shines in darkness and darkness could not overpower it. (Jn 1:5)

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA

The meditations plead for the homeless and immigrants, as well as for abused women and children and victims of torture, organised crime and loansharks. 

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA

As each meditation was being read, the Holy Father knelt down in prayer, humbling himself before Christ in His passion.

He reflected: "God placed all the weight of our sins on the Cross of Jesus, all the injustices perpetrated by every Cain against his brother, all the bitterness of the betrayal of Judas and Peter, all the vanity of tyrants, all the arrogance of false friends.

"It was a heavy Cross, like the night of abandoned people, as heavy as the death of loved ones, heavy because it carried all the ugliness of evil".

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA

The Pope concluded that the Cross of Christ is a "glorious cross", like the "dawn after a long night, because it represents the totality of God’s love, which is so much greater than our iniquity and our betrayals."

"Before the Cross of Christ" he exclaimed, "we can see, we can almost touch with our hands how much we are eternally loved. Before the Cross, we feel like children rather than things or objects."

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA

"Oh, our Jesus lead us from the Cross to the Resurrection and teach us that evil will not have the last word, but love , mercy and forgiveness!" Francis cried.

"Oh Christ, help us to cry out once more: ‘
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, let us all remember the sick and abandoned people under the weight of the Cross, so that in the trial of the Cross they may find the strength of Hope, the Hope of the Resurrection and the Love of God".

© Sabrina Fusco / ALETEIA

Pope Francis
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