The texts for the Stations of the Cross were written this year by Lebanese young people under the guidance of Cardinal Béchara Boutros Raï, patriarch of Antioch and all the East for the Maronite Church.
Francis concluded the ceremony thanking those who had participated, and those who "accompanied us through the media, especially the sick and elderly."
"I do not wish to add too many words," he continued. "One word should suffice this evening, that is the Cross itself. The Cross is the word through which God has responded to evil in the world. Sometimes it may seem as though God does not react to evil, as if he is silent. And yet, God has spoken, he has replied, and his answer is the Cross of Christ: a word which is love, mercy, forgiveness. It is also reveals a judgment, namely that God, in judging us, loves us. In judging us, he loves us. If I embrace his love then I am saved, if I refuse it, then I am condemned, not by him, but my own self, because God never condemns, he only loves and saves."
He said that the "word of the Cross" is also Christians' answer to evil "that continues to work in us and around us."
"Christians must respond to evil with good, taking the Cross upon themselves as Jesus did," Francis said.
"We now continue this Via Crucis in our daily lives," he concluded. "Let us walk together along the Way of the Cross and let us do so carrying in our hearts this word of love and forgiveness. Let us go forward waiting for the Resurrection of Jesus, who loves us so much. Who is all love."
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