I use the words of Pope Francis to remind us of the significance of this cross, associated with World Youth Day. This event will be held in Poland at the end of July, and a group of our youth from the Cook Islands are attending this event.
“I know how much the WYD cross means to all of you. It was a gift from Saint John Paul II and has been with you at all your World Meetings since 1984.
“So many changes and real conversions have taken place in the lives of young people who have encountered this simple bare cross!
“Perhaps you have asked yourselves the question: what is the origin of the extraordinary power of the cross? Here is the answer: the cross is the most eloquent sign of God’s mercy. It tells us that the measure of God’s love for humanity is to love without measure! Through the cross we can touch God’s mercy and be touched by that mercy.
“Here I would recall the episode of the two thieves crucified beside Jesus. One of them is arrogant and does not admit that he is a sinner.
“He mocks the Lord. The other acknowledges that he has done wrong; he turns to the Lord saying: ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom’. Jesus looks at him with infinite mercy and replies, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (cf. Lk 23:32, 39-43).
“With which of the two do we identify? Is it with the arrogant one who does not acknowledge his own mistakes?
“Or is it with the other, who accepts that he is in need of divine mercy and begs for it with all his heart? It is in the Lord, who gave his life for us on the cross, that we will always find that unconditional love which sees our lives as something good and always gives us the chance to start again.”
Bishop Paul Donoghue.