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Text for Stations of the Cross led by Pope Francis on Good Friday

Giulio Napolitano | Shutterstock

Anne-Marie Pelletier - published on 04/13/17

Tintoretto via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain


The crucified Jesus is mocked

From the Gospel according to Luke

The leaders scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself if he is the Messiah of God, his chosen one!” The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine, and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” (23:35-39).

“If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread… If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written: [his angels] will bear you up” (4:3.9-11).


Couldn’t Jesus have come down from the cross? We hardly dare ask this question: doesn’t the Gospel put it on the lips of the godless?

Yet it continues to haunt us, for we are still part of the world of temptation that Jesus confronted during his forty days in the wilderness, the prelude and inauguration of his ministry. “If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread; hurl yourself from the height of the Temple, for God watches over his friends”. Yet to the extent that we, who have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, follow in his footsteps, the taunts of the evil one have no grip on us; they are powerless, their deceit is evident.

Only then do we discover the peremptory force of those words, “Was it not necessary…?” (Lk 24:26), that Jesus spoke patiently yet firmly to his disciples on the way to Emmaus.

“It was necessary” that Christ should accept this obedience and this powerlessness, in order to come to us in the powerlessness brought on by our disobedience.

We now begin to understand that “only a God who suffers can save”, as Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote a few months before his execution. In experiencing the power of evil to the full, he could sum up, in this simple and overwhelming truth, the profession of the Christian faith.


Lord our God, who will set us free from the snares of worldly power? Who will free us from the tyranny of lies, which make us exalt the powerful and seek our own empty glory?

You alone can convert our hearts.

You alone can make us love the paths of humility.

You alone, who showed us that there is no victory if not in love, and that all else is but chaff scattered by the wind, a mirage which vanishes in the face of your truth.

We ask you, Lord, to dispel the untruths that seek to reign in our hearts and in our world.

Make us walk in your ways, so that the world may recognize the power of the cross.

Pater noster

My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?

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