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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

Public Domain


Jesus is stripped of his garments

From the Gospel according to John

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier (19:23).

From the book of Job

“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return there” (1:21).


Jesus’ disgraced body is stripped. Exposed to the derision and contempt of all eyes. His body, broken and covered with welts, readied for the ultimate punishment of crucifixion. Humanly, what could any of us do but lower our eyes in order not to add to his disgrace?

Yet the spirit comes to aid us amid our dismay and bewilderment. He teaches us to understand God’s language, the language of kénosis, the abasement that leads God to come to us wherever we find ourselves. The Orthodox theologian Christos Yannaras tells us of this language that God speaks: “the language of kénosis: the child Jesus lying naked in the manger; naked in the river as he receives baptism like a slave; hanging on the tree of the cross, naked, like a common criminal. In all this, he showed his love for us”.

When we enter into this mystery of grace, we can once more open our eyes and gaze on the broken body of Jesus. Then we glimpse what our eyes cannot see: that his nakedness radiates the same splendour that brightened his garments at the moment of the Transfiguration.

Light that dispels all darkness.

The irresistible light of love to the end.


Lord our God, we set before your eyes the immense throngs of men and women who are victims of torture, the appalling mass of mangled bodies, buffeted by blows and trembling with fear, awaiting death in grim basements and cells.

We beg you, hear their cry.

In the face of evil we are speechless and helpless.

Yet you know what we do not. You can find a way through the chaos and bleakness of evil. Even now, in the passion of your beloved Son, you can bring the light of the resurrection.

Pater noster

Christ, put to death for our sins,
Christ, risen for our life,
We beg you, have mercy on us.

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