04/03/2010, 00.00
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Good Friday, the day of greatest hope, Pope says

At the end of the Via Crucis, Benedict XVI urged the faithful to convert, to turn to the cross keeping in mind the Resurrection, which “envelops everything, transforming betrayal in friendship, and hatred in love.” The Pope’s preacher quotes a Jewish friend who compares recent violent attacks against the Church to the most shameful aspects of anti-Semitism.

Rome (AsiaNews) – Good Friday is the “day of greatest hope, unfolding on the cross, as Jesus lay dying.” His death became a “source of life,” so that “our disappointments and bitter experiences could be brightened by hope”, by the “shining light of the Resurrection”, which “envelops everything, transforming betrayal in friendship, and hatred in love.”

This year’s Via Crucis, which fell on the fifth anniversary of the death of Pope John Paul II, was, in the   words Pope Benedict XVI’s spoke tonight at the Colosseum, more than ever about the Resurrection, and this despite “the passion in the life of the Church” and “of the world, because we actually know that the source of salvation, liberation and peace lies in the suffering on the cross.” Thus, in a spring evening, the Pope brought to an end the Way of the Cross, which he followed from a balcony across from the Colosseum, surrounded by thousands of people.

“Free us from the somewhat ridiculous presumption that we are self-sufficient” and help “acknowledge without hypocrisy that evil is within us,” the Pope said in a prayer with which he began the ceremony.

These issues were mentioned several times during the Meditations, written this year by Card Camillo Ruini, Vicar General Emeritus of Rome. At the first station, the cardinal warned, “It is to ourselves, then, that we must look: to the evil and the sin which dwell within us and which all too often we pretend to ignore. Yet all the more should we turn our eyes to the God who is rich in mercy, and who has called us his friends (cf Jn, 15:15). Thus the Way of the Cross and the entire journey of our life becomes a way of penance, pain and conversion, but also of gratitude, faith and joy.”

Coming to the ninth station, he said, “The real reason why Christ fell repeatedly was not simply his physical sufferings, or human betrayal, but the will of the Father. That mysterious will, humanly incomprehensible, yet infinitely good and generous, whereby Jesus became ‘sin for us’. All the sins of humanity were placed upon him and that mysterious exchange took place whereby we sinners became ‘the righteousness of God’.”.

During the Meditations or the Pope’s address, no word was said about the “crosses” the Church is bearing these days. However, Fr Raniero Cantalamessa did refer to them during the celebration of the Passion of the Lord. “I received this week a letter from a Jewish friend,” he said. “[W]ith his permission; I share some of it with you.” In it, the friend said, “I am following with indignation the violent and concentric attacks against the Church, the Pope and all the faithful by the whole world. The use of stereotypes, the passing from personal responsibility and guilt to a collective guilt remind me of the more shameful aspects of anti-Semitism. Therefore, I desire to express to you personally, to the Pope and to the whole Church my solidarity as Jew of dialogue and of all those that in the Jewish world (and there are many) share these sentiments of brotherhood.”

“In the silence of a night that embraces Holy Saturday, we live waiting for the dawn of the third day, the dawn of the victory of God’s love,” Benedict XVI said at the end of the Via Crucis.

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