VATICAN CITY, APRIL 2, 2010 ( Good Friday is the day of greatest hope, Benedict XVI said tonight at the end of the Way of the Cross at Rome's Colosseum.

Speaking from atop the Palatine hill, he noted that during the Via Crucis one rediscovers "how profound is the love [Christ] has had, and has for us."

"This night we have contemplated Jesus' face full of pain, ridiculed, insulted, disfigured by the sin of man," the Pontiff continued. "Tomorrow night we will contemplate his face full of joy, radiant and luminous.

"Since the moment Christ was placed in the sepulcher, the tomb and death are no longer hopeless places where history is closed with the most complete failure, where man touches the ultimate limit of his powerlessness."

"Good Friday is the day of greatest hope, which matured on the cross," the Holy Father affirmed.

Benedict XVI recalled that when Christ died, he cried out, "Father into your hands I commend my spirit."

"Surrendering his existence, given into the hands of the Father, he knows that his death becomes fount of life," the Pope explained. "As the seed in the ground has to be broken so the plant can grow. If the grain of wheat fallen in the earth does not die, it remains alone, but if it dies, it bears much fruit.

"Jesus is the grain of wheat that falls in the earth, is torn, is broken, dies, and because of this, can bear fruit."

He continued: "From the day on which Christ was raised up on it, the cross, which looks like a sign of abandonment, loneliness and failure, has become a new beginning. From the depths of death is raised up the promise of eternal life; upon the cross already shines the victorious splendor of the Easter dawn."

The Pope reflected on how the Church now waits for Easter Sunday, for "the dawn of the third day, the dawn of the victory of the love of God, the dawn of the light that enables the eyes of the heart to see life, difficulties and suffering in a new way."

"Our failures, our disillusions, our bitterness that seem to signal the collapse of everything, are enlightened by hope," he said. "The act of love of the cross, confirmed by the Father and the radiant light of the resurrection, envelops and transforms everything.

"From betrayal, friendship can be born; from rejection, pardon; from hate, love."

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