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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

Anthony van Dyck via Wikimedia Commons Public Domain


Jesus, King of Glory

From the Gospel according to Mark

Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace; and they called together the whole cohort. They clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” (15:16-18).

From the book of the prophet Isaiah

He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity, as one from whom others hide their faces. He was despised and we held him of no account. Yet he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. And we accounted him stricken, struck down by God and afflicted (53:2-4).


The banality of evil. How many men, women and even children are victims of violence, abuse, torture and murder, in every time and place.

Jesus does not seek shelter in his divinity. He becomes part of the awful flood of sorrows that man inflicts upon man. He knows the abandonment of the downtrodden and those utterly forsaken.

Can the sufferings of yet one more innocent person really help us?

Jesus is one of us, but first he is the beloved Son of the Father, who comes to fulfil all righteousness by his obedience.

Suddenly the tables are turned. The scorn and contempt of Jesus’ torturers reveal to us – in an absolutely paradoxical way – the unfathomable truth of his unique kingship, revealed as a love that seeks only the will of his Father and his desire that all should be saved. “You do not ask for sacrifice and offerings… Instead, here am I. In the scroll of the book it stands written that I should do your will” (Ps 40:7-9).

That is the message of this hour of Good Friday. There is but one glory in this world and in the next: the glory of knowing and doing the Father’s will. None of us can aim for a greater dignity than that of being a son or daughter in the Son who became obedient for us, even unto death on a cross.


Lord our God, on this holy day that brings your revelation to fulfilment, we ask you to tear down every idol in us and in our world. You know the sway they have over our minds and our hearts. Tear down in us every deceitful illusion of success and of glory.

Tear down in us the images we constantly make for ourselves of a God of our own liking, a distant God, so unlike the face revealed in the covenant and shown today in Jesus. A God beyond our every hope and expectation. For we confess that in Jesus we see “the radiance of your glory” (cf. Heb 1:3).

Grant that we may enter into the eternal joy that leads us to acclaim Jesus, robed in purple and crowned with thorns, as the king of glory. For it is of him that the Psalm sings: “O gates, lift high your heads; grow higher, ancient doors. Let him enter, the king of glory” (24:9).

Pater noster 

O gates, lift high your heads,
Grow higher, ancient doors.
Let him enter, the King of glory.

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