Papal Address at Stations of the Cross, at Colosseum
"We Have Been Given the Love That Is Stronger Than Death"
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ROME, APRIL 10, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II's address at the conclusion of the Stations of the Cross he presided over on Good Friday night at the Colosseum.
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1. "Venit hora!" The hour has come! The hour of the Son of man.
As every year, we follow Christ's "Via Crucis" around the Colosseum and participate in that "hour" in which the Redemption was fulfilled.
"Venit hora crucis!" The hour "to depart out of this world to the Father" (John 13:1). The hour of the heart-rending suffering of the Son of God, a suffering that, 20 centuries later, continues to overwhelm and question us profoundly. The Son of God came to this hour (see John 12:27) precisely to give his life for his brothers. It is the "hour" to hand himself over, the "hour" of the revelation of infinite love.
2. "Venit hora gloriae!" "The hour has come for the Son of man to be glorified" (John 12:23). This is the "hour" in which we, men and women of all times, have been given the love that is stronger than death. We are beneath the Cross on which the Son of God is nailed so that with the power that the Father has given him over all human beings he may give eternal life to all those who have been given to him (see John 17:2).
Is it not, therefore, a duty in this "hour" to give glory to God the Father "who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all" (Romans 8:32)?
Has not the moment come to glorify the Son who "humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross" (Philippians 2:8)?
How is it possible not to give glory to the Spirit of him who resurrected Christ from the dead and who now dwells in us to also give life to our mortal bodies? (See Romans 8:11.)
3. May this "hour" of the Son of man, which we live on Good Friday, remain in our minds and hearts as the "hour of love and of glory."
May the mystery of the "Via Crucis" of the Son of God be for all an inexhaustible source of hope. May it console and strengthen us also when our hour comes.
"Venit hora redemptionis. Glorificemus Redemptorem!" Amen.
[Translation by ZENIT]