Papal Meditation on the First Station of the Way of the Cross
prepared for the pope’s proclamation by Olivier Clément
Rome, Good Friday, April 10, 1998
JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH
V. We adore you O Christ and we bless you.
R. Because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.
Pilate said to them, Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Messiah? All of them said, Let him be crucified! Then he asked, Why, what evil has he done? they shouted all the more, Let him be crucified! So he released Barabbas for them; and after flogging Jesus, he handed him over to be crucified (Matt. 27:22-23, 26).
Crucify him! The cry is redoubled by the blind passion of the crowd
– Strange liturgy of death –
it echoes throughout history,
and echoes throughout this century which is coming to a close, ashes of Auschwitz and ice of the Gulag, bloodied waters of the rice fields of Asia, of the lakes of Africa, massacres in paradise.
So many children denied, prostituted, mutilated. Oh no, not the Jewish people, crucified by us for so long, not the crowd which will always prefer Barabbas because he repays evil with evil, not them, but all of us, each one of us, because we are all murderers of love.
See how the Living One, in whom was not sown any seed of death, is condemned to death. The whip lacerates the body in which breathes the Spirit. They lead him out to be crucified.