Francis concludes the Way of the Cross with a prayer that recalls those Christians "killed, burned alive, slaughtered and beheaded", the corrupt, the elderly abandoned and the dead migrants at sea, but also the faces of the religious and consecrated who abandon everything to help others and volunteers who generously help the needy and downtrodden.
Rome (AsiaNews) - Pope Francis concluded the Way of the Cross this Good Friday with a prayer to the Cross of Christ "symbol of divine and human injustice" that we see today in the many ills of the world - Christians "killed, burned alive, their throats slit and beheaded "the corrupt, by the elderly abandoned the dead migrants at sea - but also "banner of victory" in the faces of the nuns and consecrated people who abandon everything to help others or volunteers who generously aid the needy and downtrodden.
“O Cross of Christ” – began the Pope’s prayer – “symbol of divine love and of human injustice, icon of the supreme sacrifice
for love and of boundless selfishness even unto madness, instrument of death and the way of
resurrection, sign of obedience and emblem of betrayal, the gallows of persecution and the banner of
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you raised up in our sisters and brothers killed, burned
alive, throats slit and decapitated by barbarous blades amid cowardly silence.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the faces of children, of women and people, worn
out and fearful, who flee from war and violence and who often only find death and many Pilates who
wash their hands.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those filled with knowledge and not with the spirit,
scholars of death and not of life, who instead of teaching mercy and life, threaten with punishment and
death, and who condemn the just.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in unfaithful ministers who, instead of stripping
themselves of their own vain ambitions, divest even the innocent of their dignity.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the hardened hearts of those who easily judge
others, with hearts ready to condemn even to the point of stoning, without ever recognizing their own
sins and faults.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in expressions of fundamentalism and in terrorist acts
committed by followers of some religions which profane the name of God and which use the holy
name to justify their unprecedented violence.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those who wish to remove you from public places
and exclude you from public life, in the name of a pagan laicism or that equality you yourself taught
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the powerful and in arms dealers who feed the
cauldron of war with the innocent blood of our brothers and sisters.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in traitors who, for thirty pieces of silver, would
consign anyone to death.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in thieves and corrupt officials who, instead of
safeguarding the common good and morals, sell themselves in the despicable market-place of
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the foolish who build warehouses to store up
treasures that perish, leaving Lazarus to die of hunger at their doorsteps.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the destroyers of our “common home”, who by their
selfishness ruin the future of coming generations.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the elderly who have been abandoned by their
families, in the disabled and in children starving and cast-off by our egotistical and hypocritical
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas which have
become insatiable cemeteries, reflections of our indifferent and anesthetized conscience.
O Cross of Christ, image of love without end and way of the Resurrection, today too we see
you in noble and upright persons who do good without seeking praise or admiration from others.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in ministers who are faithful and humble, who
illuminate the darkness of our lives like candles that burn freely in order to brighten the lives of the
least among us.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the faces of consecrated women and men – good
Samaritans – who have left everything to bind up, in evangelical silence, the wounds of poverty and
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the merciful who have found in mercy the greatest
expression of justice and faith.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in simple men and women who live their faith joyfully
day in and day out, in filial observance of your commandments.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the contrite, who in the depths of the misery of their
sins, are able to cry out: Lord, remember me in your kingdom!
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in the blessed and the saints who know how to cross
the dark night of faith without ever losing trust in you and without claiming to understand your
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in families that live their vocation of married life in fidelity
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in volunteers who generously assist those in need and
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those persecuted for their faith who, amid their
suffering, continue to offer an authentic witness to Jesus and the Gospel.
O Cross of Christ, today too we see you in those who dream, those with the heart of a child,
who work to make the world a better place, ever more human and just.
In you, Holy Cross, we see God who loves even to the end, and we see the hatred of those who
want to dominate, that hatred which blinds the minds and hearts of those who prefer darkness to light.
O Cross of Christ, Arc of Noah that saved humanity from the flood of sin, save us from evil
and from the Evil One. O Throne of David and seal of the divine and eternal Covenant, awaken us
from the seduction of vanity! O cry of love, inspire in us a desire for God, for goodness and for light.
O Cross of Christ, teach us that the rising of the sun is more powerful than the darkness of
night. O Cross of Christ, teach us that the apparent victory of evil vanishes before the empty tomb and
before the certainty of the Resurrection and the love of God which nothing can defeat, obscure or
During the ceremony, held as usual at the Coliseum, the meditations and prayers remembered the dead Jews in the death camps, the Christians killed in hatred of the faith, children who are enslaved in labor, refugees fleeing war and dictators, women subjected to exploitation and violence and even the bodies of men and women, children and the elderly, the sick and the disabled that are not respected in their dignity
Written by the Cardinal of Perugia, Gualtiero Bassetti and titled "God's mercy" they show the path of Jesus to Golgotha as the extreme mercy of God’s gift to men. A response to today's fears of man, a warning to those seeking "cheap truths", that serve their own interests, while Jesus shows that "the Christian accepts the scorn and humiliation arising from his or her love of the truth". A call to faith and hope in the face of so many fears we have in our lives. "We are afraid of the other, the stranger, the migrant. We are afraid of the future, of the unforeseen, of poverty. How much fear in our families, in the workplace, in our cities ... And maybe we are even afraid of God: that fear of divine judgment that comes from little faith, from a lack of knowledge of His heart, from doubting His mercy”.
The many human sufferings are mentioned on several occasions. At III Station "We pray Lord, for all the situations of suffering that seem to have no meaning, for the Jews who died in the death camps, for Christians killed in hatred of the faith, for the victims of all persecution, for children who are enslaved in the workplace, for the innocent who die in wars".
The IV station recalled "all women subjected to exploitation and violence."
The X station "the bodies of men and women, children and the elderly, the sick and the disabled that are not respected in their dignity”.
And in the III Station, when Jesus falls the first time under the cross "Jesus gives meaning to human suffering. Suffering for humans is sometimes absurd, incomprehensible to the mind, the harbinger of death. There are situations of suffering that seem to deny the love of God. Where is God in the death camps? Where is God in the mines and factories ,where children work as slaves? Where is God in cramped dinghy’s that sink in the Mediterranean? Jesus falls under the weight of the cross, but he is crushed. Christ is there. Discarded among the discarded. Last with the least. Shipwrecked among the shipwrecked. God takes care of all this. A God who to show His love renounces omnipotence. But even so, he fell to the ground like a grain of wheat, God is faithful to himself: He is faithful in love".