Skip to main content

Papal Address at the End of the Way of the Cross

"What Have We Done With This Gift?"

ROME, MARCH 22, 2008 (Zenit) - Here is a transcription and translation of the reflection Benedict XVI offered Friday at the end of the Way of the Cross in the Roman Colosseum.

* * *

Dear brothers and sisters,

This year too we have walked along the way of the cross, the Via Crucis, evoking again with faith the stages of the passion of Christ. Our eyes have turned to contemplate the sufferings and the anguish that our Redeemer had to bear in the hour of great sorrow, which entailed the highpoint of his earthly mission. Jesus dies on the cross and lies in the tomb. The day of Good Friday, so permeated by human sadness and religious silence, closes in the silence of meditation and prayer. In returning home, we too, like those who were present at the sacrifice of Jesus, beat our breasts, recalling what happened. Is it possible to remain indifferent before the death of the Lord, of the Son of God? For us, for our salvation he became man, so as to be able to suffer and die.

Brothers and sisters: Let us direct today our gaze toward Christ, a gaze frequently distracted by scattered and passing earthly interests. Let us pause to contemplate his cross. The cross, fount of life and school of justice and peace, is the universal patrimony of pardon and mercy. It is permanent proof of a self-emptying and infinite love that brought God to become man, vulnerable like us, unto dying crucified.

Through the sorrowful way of the cross, the men of all ages, reconciled and redeemed by the blood of Christ, have become friends of God, sons of the heavenly Father. "Friend," is what Jesus calls Judas and he offers him the last and dramatic call to conversion. "Friend," he calls each of us, because he is the authentic friend of everyone. Unfortunately, we do not always manage to perceive the depth of this limitless love that God has for us. For him, there is no distinction of race or culture. Jesus Christ died to liberate the humanity of old of their ignorance of God, of the circle of hate and violence, of the slavery to sin. The cross makes us brothers and sisters.

But let us ask ourselves, in this moment, what have we done with this gift, what have we done with the revelation of the face of God in Christ, with the revelation of the love of God that conquers hate. Many, in our age as well, do not know God and cannot encounter him in Christ crucified. Many are in search of a love or a liberty that excludes God. Many believe they have no need of God.

Dear friends: After having lived together the passion of Jesus, let us this night allow his sacrifice on the cross to question us. Let us permit him to challenge our human certainties. Let us open our hearts. Jesus is the truth that makes us free to love. Let us not be afraid: upon dying, the Lord destroyed sin and saved sinners, that is, all of us. The Apostle Peter writes: "He himself bore our sins in his body upon the cross, so that, free from sin, we might live for righteousness" (1 Peter 2:24). This is the truth of Good Friday: On the cross, the Redeemer has made us adoptive sons of God who he created in his image and likeness. Let us remain, then, in adoration before the cross.

Christ, give us the peace we seek, the happiness we desire, the love the fills our heart thirsty for the infinite. This is our prayer for this night, Jesus, Son of God, who died for us on the cross and was resurrected on the third day.


[Transcription and translation by ZENIT]

© Copyright 2008 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana


Catholic Online  CA, US
Catholic Online - Publisher, 661 869-1000



Pope, Address, Way, Cross, Easter, Lent

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

1 - 4 of 4 Comments

  1. Diana
    5 years ago

    i agree with the person above. It seems we are being persecuted again and then to have the cross in question and have it taken down in catholic schools is just horrible. It is our faith and it should not be shaken or question. Next it will be the holy rosary if we are not careful and take a firm stand defending our faith which we will lose the right to have a rosary in our hand should not have too especially in this day and age.

  2. Arokyaraj
    5 years ago

    Pope speaks in high mystic language, could any body translate in simple language. many will understand.

  3. Ruben
    6 years ago

    Can you update the latest news about the Pope's homily during Lenten season?

  4. Stephanie Zito
    6 years ago

    This beautiful Papal Address inspires me to respond to God's truth and to the love of God and the sorrowful way of the cross. Sacred heart, Sacred head thou wounded and has died for me. The passion is our free gift offering to be complete in Jesus Christ. Jesus is with me because I believe that Jesus, Son of God, creator, comforter, died on the cross and was resurrected. Through the redemption of Jesus Christ, he is my Lord and my Savior. Saved by the blood of Jesus, born again in fellowship with Him, I am sanctified and complete through His grace. Consecrated through His unfailing love, I live for righteousness. The cross is a reminder of the passion of Jesus and our Salvation. It is also the call to conversion for those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus. To ponder the cross every day I hold dear in my heart the depth of this limitless love that God has for me and all mankind. Through God I seek to know Him more so to be like Him through His unchangeable eternal word. Conversion includes internal change of heart and surrender to God's will and giving up worldly desires. When we are like Jesus we are profoundly not of this world. God wants all to love Him and calls the sinner to draw near to Him and have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, son of God. Without a personal relationship with Jesus Christ we cannot spend eternity with Him in Heaven. All sinners must repent before it is too late. Because of Godís providence, He calls you. Thank you my beloved reedemer Jesus for what you have done for me.

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jonah 3:1-10
The word of Yahweh was addressed to Jonah a second time. 'Up!' ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 130:1-2, 3-4, 7-8
[Song of Ascents] From the depths I call to you, Yahweh: Lord, ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 10:38-42
In the course of their journey he came to a village, and a ... Read More

Saint of the Day

October 6 Saint of the Day

St. Bruno
October 6: Bruno was born in Cologne of the prominent Hartenfaust family. ... Read More