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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

Bartolomeo Schedoni via Wikipedia-Commons


Jesus is laid in the tomb and the women

From the Gospel according to Luke

The women who had come with him from Galilee followed, and they saw the tomb and how the body was laid. Then they returned, and prepared spices and ointments (23:55-56).


The women have departed. The one whom they had accompanied with constant care along the roads of Galilee is no more. This evening he leaves them alone, in the company only of their thoughts of the tomb and the shroud in which he lies. A scant yet precious recollection of those excitement-filled days now past. Solitude and silence. The Sabbath draws near, bidding Israel to rest from work, even as God did when his work of creation was finished, brought to completion with his blessing.

Today has to do with another kind of fulfillment, at present hidden and inscrutable. A Shabbat in which to rest quietly, with hearts recollected and minds burdened by grief. But also, for the women, a day to prepare the ointments and spices with which they will pay their last respects to the Lord’s body on the morrow, at daybreak.

Are they preparing simply to embalm their hope? What if God has prepared, in response to their act of devotion, something that they cannot possibly foresee, imagine or anticipate? The finding of an empty tomb, the message that he is no longer there, for he has shattered the doors of death…


Lord our God, graciously look upon and bless all that women everywhere do to revere weak and vulnerable bodies, surrounding them with kindness and respect.

Grant too that we, who have accompanied you along this path of love to the very end, together with the women of the Gospel, may remain in expectant prayer. For we know that our prayers will be answered by the resurrection of Jesus, which your Church now prepares to celebrate in the joy of Easter night.

Pater noster

To him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen!

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