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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

Jose Madrazo via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

FIRST STATION

Jesus is condemned to death

From the Gospel according to Luke

When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes; and they led him away to their council (22:66).

From the Gospel according to Mark

They all condemned him as deserving death. Some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying to him: “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows (14:64-65).

MEDITATION

The members of the Sanhedrin did not need a lengthy discussion to come to a decision. The matter had long been settled. Jesus must die!

These too were the thoughts of those who sought to hurl Jesus from the brow of the hill that day when, in the synagogue of Nazareth, he unrolled the scroll and applied to himself the words of the prophet Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me… to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19).

When he healed the paralytic at the pool of Bethzatha and inaugurated the Sabbath of God, which brings freedom from every form of enslavement, the murmuring and threats against his life were already beginning to mount (cf. Jn 5:1-18).

At the very end of the road, as he went up to Jerusalem for the Passover, the trap was now inexorably set. He could no longer escape his enemies (cf. Jn 11:45-57).

But our recollection must go back even further. Starting in Bethlehem, at the very time of his birth, when Herod had decreed that he must die. The henchmen of the usurper king had put the children of Bethlehem to the sword. That time Jesus had fled their fury. But only for a while. Already his life hung in the balance. In the sobbing of Rachel mourning her children who are no more, we hear a prophecy of the sorrow that Simeon will foretell to Mary (cf. Mt 2:16-18; Lk 2:34-35).

PRAYER

Lord Jesus, beloved Son, you came to us, doing good in our midst and leading back to life all those who dwell in the shadow of death. You peer into the abyss of our hearts.

We claim to be on the side of good and to desire life. But we are sinners and accomplices of death.

We call ourselves your disciples, but we take paths that lead far from your thoughts, your justice and your mercy.

Do not abandon us to our violent ways.

Do not lose patience with us.

Deliver us from evil!

Pater noster

“My people, what evil have I done to you? How have I offended you? Answer me.

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