Pope Francis gave a solemn address today in Krakow after an artistic and musical presentation of the Via Crucis, in which the 14 stations of Christ’s Passion were linked to the 14 corporal and spiritual works of mercy.
Read text of Stations here: https://zenit.org/articles/way-of-cross-for-pope-youth-to-link-stations-to-works-of-mercy/
“Where is God?” Where is God, if evil is present in our world, if there are men and women who are hungry and thirsty, homeless, exiles and refugees? Where is God, when innocent persons die as a result of violence, terrorism and war? Where is God, when cruel diseases break the bonds of life and affection? Or when children are exploited and demeaned, and they too suffer from grave illness? Where is God, amid the anguish of those who doubt and are troubled in spirit?,” the Pope asked the thousands of young people in Krakow for World Youth Day, acknowledging that these are the questions that come to our hearts.
“These are questions that humanly speaking have no answer,” he said.
But Jesus’ answer is “‘God is in them.’ Jesus is in them; he suffers in them and deeply identifies with each of them,” the Pontiff reflected. “He is so closely united to them as to form with them, as it were, ‘one body.’”
Dying on the cross, Francis said, Jesus took “upon himself and in himself, with self- sacrificing love, the physical, moral and spiritual wounds of all humanity.”
The Way of the Cross prayed by the youth, the Pope continued, emphasized the importance of imitating Jesus with the works of mercy.
In one of the most emphatic moments of his address, he reminded that Christians must follow this way. “In welcoming the outcast who suffer physically and welcoming sinners who suffer spiritually, our credibility as Christians is at stake.”
“Unless those who call themselves Christians live to serve, their lives serve no good purpose. By their lives, they deny Jesus Christ,” he said.
The Pope asked the young people to answer Jesus’ call to commit themselves to a life of service.
“To enable you to carry out this mission, [Jesus] shows you the way of personal commitment and self-sacrifice. It is the Way of the Cross,” he said. “Those who take up this way with generosity and faith give hope and a future to humanity.”
“Dear young people,” the Pope concluded, “on that Good Friday many disciples went back crestfallen to their homes. Others chose to go out to the country to forget the cross. I ask you: How do you want to go back this evening to your own homes, to the places where you are staying? How do you want to go back this evening to be alone with your thoughts? Each of you has to answer the challenge that this question sets before you.”
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