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Way of the Cross: meditations on migrants, families and persecuted Christians

“God is mercy”: this is the title given by Card. Gualtiero Bassetti to the meditations written for the Way of the Cross that will be presided over by Pope Francis at the Colosseum this Good Friday at 9.15pm. According to the Archbishop of Perugia, the reflections – which will be released by the Vatican Publishing House tomorrow – show that in the face of human fear, suffering, persecution and violence, mercy is the channel of God’s grace that reaches everyone. The 14 stations will include meditations by Fr. Mazzolari, Fr. Turoldo and St John Paul II as well as reflections on the persecution of Christians, the killing of Jews in concentration camps, broken families, and the ostentation of power in today’s world. Referring to the “scandal of the Cross”, the Cardinal said that Jesus’ body, scourged and humiliated, shows us “the way of justice”, “God’s justice, which transforms the most terrible suffering into the light of the Resurrection”. But some people, like Pilate, fear losing their comfort and do not choose God’s Truth, while others fear the different, the stranger, the migrant and fail to see in them the face of Christ. So God’s questions on “why this?” become prayer: “For the Jews who died in the death camps, for the Christians killed in hatred of the faith, and for the victims of all persecution”. Then a reference to the family, “the inalienable cell of society” and “irreplaceable pillar of human relations”, and to those who are “depressed” because of broken marriages, distressed or in anguish for the future. There is also a reference to the “children violated in their intimacy”, to those who have suffered abuse or whose dignity is not respected. Jesus on the Cross counters the “logic of the throwaway culture” with the “culture of love and forgiveness”. Finally a reference to the numerous martyrs and “apostles of the contemporary world”, like Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein, or like Joseph of Arimathea, who embodies “hospitality, gratitude and love” in asking for Christ’s body for a sober and humble burial. This, according to Cardinal Bassetti, is in sharp contrast to the “ostentation, banality and flashiness of the funerals of the powerful of this world”.

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