May Jesus become our traveling
He will explain that
he died for our sake and his Crucifixion is an eloquent lesson for
each of us
On Good Friday evening,
21 April, accompanied by an immense number of pilgrims with candles
to light their way, the Holy Father took part in the traditional
Stations of the Cross at the Colosseum. This Jubilee year the Pope
himself wrote the meditations and prayers, and he ended the Way of
the Cross with a reflection on the meaning of Christ's Passion and
Resurrection, expressing the hope that "the people of today
[may] be able to recognize in the breaking of bread, the mystery of
the Eucharist, the presence of their Saviour", as did the
disciples of Emmaus. Here is a translation of his address, which was
given in Italian.
1. "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these
things and enter into his glory?" (Lk 24:26).
These words of Jesus to the two disciples on their way to Emmaus
echo deep within us this evening, at the end of the Way of the Cross
at the Colosseum. Like us, they had heard talk of the events
surrounding the Passion and Crucifixion of Jesus. On the way back to
their village, Christ draws near as an unknown pilgrim, and they
hasten to tell him everything "about Jesus..., who was a
prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people"
(Lk 24:19), and how the chief priests and rulers delivered him up to
be condemned to death and how he was crucified (cf. Lk 24:20-21).
And they conclude sadly: "But we had hoped that he was the one
to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day
since this happened" (Lk 24:21).
"We had hoped...". The disciples are discouraged and
dejected. For us too it is difficult to understand why the way of
salvation should pass through suffering and death.
2. "Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these
things and enter into his glory?" (Lk 24:26). Let us too ask
this question at the end of the traditional Stations of the Cross at
Soon, from this place sanctified by the blood of the first
martyrs, we shall go away, each on our own way. We shall return
home, turning over in our minds the very same events which the
disciples of Emmaus were discussing.
May Jesus draw near to each one of us; may he become for us too a
companion on the road! As he walks with us, he will explain that it
was for our sake that he went to Calvary, for us that he died, in
fulfilment of the Scriptures. Thus the sorrowful event of the
Crucifixion, which we have just meditated upon will become for each
of us an eloquent lesson.
Dear Brothers and Sisters! The people of today need to meet
Christ crucified and risen!
Who, if not the condemned Saviour, can fully understand the pain
of those unjustly condemned?
Who, if not the King scorned and humiliated, can meet the
expectations of the countless men and women who live without hope or
Who, if not the crucified Son of God, can know the sorrow and
loneliness of so many lives shattered and without a future?
The French poet Paul Claudel wrote that the Son of God "has
shown us the way out of suffering and the possibility of its
transformation" (Positions et propositions). Let us open our
hearts to Christ: he himself will respond to our deepest yearnings.
He himself will unveil for us the mysteries of his Passion and Death
on the Cross.
3. "Then their eyes were opened and they recognized
him" (Lk 24:31). As Jesus speaks, the hearts of the two
disconsolate travelers find a new serenity and begin to burn with
joy. They recognize the Master in the breaking of bread.
Like them, may the people of today be able to recognize in the
breaking of bread, in the mystery of the Eucharist, the presence of
their Saviour. May they encounter him in the Sacrament of his
Passover, and welcome him as their fellow traveler along the way.
He will listen to them and bring them comfort. He will become their
guide, leading them along the paths of life towards the Father's
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you,
because by your holy
Cross, you have redeemed the world!
(Official Translation) ZE00042321