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Pope Francis at Way of Cross: 'Lord…We Have Accompanied Your Son on the Way of the Cross'

‘The way he wanted to walk in order to show us how much you love us and how much you care about our lives.’

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“Lord, Father of mercy, in this Coastal Beltway, together with so many young people from all over the world, we have accompanied your Son on his Way of the Cross: the way he wanted to walk in order to show us how much you love us and how much you care about our lives.”
Those were the simple – but profound – words of Pope Francis January 25, 2019, after the participants in World Youth Day walked the Way of the Cross in Panama at Campo Santa Maria la Antigua – Cinta Costera.
The Holy Father’s message to the young people was clear: the suffering that was the Way of the Cross is suffering that continues today – and Christians continued to be called to accompany Jesus on His painful journey.
“The way of Jesus leading to Calvary is a way of suffering and solitude that continues in our own time,” Francis said. “He walks and suffers in all those faces hurt by the complacent and anesthetizing indifference of our society that consumes and is consumed, that ignores and is ignorant, blind to the pain of our brothers and sisters.”
The Pope warned against apathy and inaction. He noted that people can end up “going along with the crowd.” In simple terms, it is easier to be a friend in good times than in bad.
“How easy it is to fall into a culture of bullying, harassment, and intimidation,” the Pope lamented. He explained it wasn’t like that for Jesus, who identified himself with those who suffer.
The Holy Father pointed out example of how the cross continues in our own time:

  • “In the muffled cry of children kept from being born…
  • “In women who are mistreated, exploited, and abandoned…
  • “In the saddened eyes of young people who see their hopes for the future snatched away for lack of education and dignified work…
  • “In the anguish of young faces, our friends, who fall into the snares of unscrupulous people…
  • “In all those young people and families caught up in a spiral of death as a result of drugs, alcohol, prostitution, and human trafficking…
  • “In those young people with downcast faces who have lost the ability to dream, create and shape their future…
  • “In the quiet and anger-filled pain of those who, instead of solidarity from an opulent society, encounter rejection, sorrow, and misery…
  • “In the despairing solitude of the discarded and abandoned elderly…
  • “In the indigenous peoples whom others strip of their lands, roots, and culture, ignoring and silencing the great wisdom that they can bring…
  • “In the plea of our mother earth, profoundly wounded by the pollution of her skies, the barrenness of her fields, the contamination of her waters, trampled underfoot by disregard and fury of consumption beyond all reason.”

In light of all this suffering, Pope Francis called on the youth to console the Lord by caring for the poor and abandoned, to be peacemakers, and to remain at the foot of the cross like Mary did.
“Let us look to Mary, woman of strength,” Francis urged. “From her let us learn how to stand beneath the cross with her same determination and courage, without evasions or illusions. She accompanied the suffering of her Son, your Son; she supported him by her gaze and protected him with her heart. She shared his suffering, yet was not overwhelmed by it. She was the woman of strength who uttered her “yes”, who supports and accompanies, protects and embraces. She is the great guardian of hope.”
The Holy Father’s Full Remarks

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Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a husband, father, grandfather, writer, and communications consultant. He also likes playing the piano and fishing. He writes from the Chicago area.

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