"What is at stake is life, and grace and peace"
[The French biblicist Anne-Marie Pelletier was chosen by Pope Francis to write the meditations for the Via Crucis of Good Friday, April 14, presided over by the pope at the Colosseum in Rome.
A professor of hermeneutics and biblical exegesis, in 2014 Pelletier became the first woman to win the Ratzinger Prize. This prestigious award is given to scholars who have stood out for their scholarly research in the theological field.
Here is the text she wrote:]
The hour has now come. Jesus’ journey along the dusty roads of Galilee and Judea, an endless encounter with afflicted bodies and hearts, a journey driven by his urgent need to proclaim the Kingdom, ends here, today. On Golgotha. Today the cross bars the way. Jesus will go no further.
He can go no further!
Here the love of God reveals its full measure, measure beyond measure.
Today the love of the Father, who wills that all be saved in his Son, goes to the extreme, where words fail, where we find ourselves bewildered, our piety overwhelmed by the superabundance of God’s thoughts and plans.
On Golgotha, contrary to all appearances, what is at stake is life, and grace and peace. Here what counts is not the kingdom of evil, which we know all too well, but the triumph of love.
Beneath the cross, too, what is at stake is our world with all its failings and sufferings, its pleas and protests, all those cries that in our day rise up to God from lands of dire poverty and war, from boats teeming with migrants…
How many are the tears, how great is the misery in the chalice that the Son drinks for our sake.
How many are the tears, how great is the misery, yet none of this will be lost in the sea of time. Instead it will be taken up by him, to be transfigured in the mystery of a love which vanquishes all evil.
Golgotha speaks to us of God’s unshakeable fidelity to our humanity.
A birth takes place there!
We need the courage to say that all this is about the joy of the Gospel!
Unless we recognize this truth, we remain trapped in the toils of suffering and death. And we fail to let Christ’s passion bear fruit in our lives.
Lord, our vision is dimmed. How can we walk this far with you?
“Mercy” is your name. But this name is madness.
May the old wineskins of our hearts burst asunder!
Brighten our vision with the good news of the Gospel, in the hour when we stand beneath the cross of your Son.
Then we will be able to celebrate “the breadth and length and height and depth” (Eph 3:18) of the love of Christ, with hearts comforted and flooded with light.