The Via Crucis is recognizable in our churches as well as on the streets of our present world! As children, we wondered at those scenes attached to the wall high above our eye level. What was happening? Why? Why all the abuse and hatred toward Jesus? Why his quiet submission to the cruel extortionists? Why the death and apparent defeat of Jesus?
Have you felt drawn this Lent to gaze, as we did as children, on the Way of the Cross? As adults, we can re-consider Jesus, THEN, as well as NOW in our brothers and sisters the world over who experience condemnation, rejection and the evil that leads them, too, to death. Let us keep our eyes on the cross THEN and NOW as we pray:
Jesus is made to carry a cross; He is forced to take it upon his shoulders. . .
Who in our world is carrying a cross, even embracing it, simply because they are believers?
|Third Station of the Cross, Jesus falls the first time|
(Photo by S. Pat Ruether)
Jesus falls . . .
Who are those in our world who, exhausted by oppression, homelessness, hateful words, fall?
Jesus meets His Mother. . .
Who are the mothers, fathers, grandparents who watch, wait and weep for their child incarcerated for scarcely a crime?
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus. . .
Who are those pro-bono lawyers who reach out to help the poor? Or those who see another’s frailty and brokenness and come/go to their aid?
And then, there is the woman, Veronica. . .
In our world, who wipes the disfigured faces of their children or spouses as they are pulled out of the rubble left by bombs? Or earthquakes?
Jesus is now half way through His journey when He falls again. ..
In our lives, how can we restrain ourselves from heartlessly pushing, striking, goading those already groveling in their suffering?
Women weep over Jesus. . .
Today, who can catch the endless tears of so many mothers and fathers who weep over their wayward children?
Jesus falls a third time. . .
We keep repeating the age-old enmity and disparity between the powerful and the powerless, the “haves” and the “have nots”. When will we learn that Love shares?
Jesus is left naked by those who are shameless. . .
In our world who are those who are stripped of everything dear to them, as they are forced out of their homes, into exile, or into the hands of human traffickers?
Finally, Jesus is nailed to the Cross and lifted on high. . .
Do we nail someone to a cross by our ridicule, greed for power, or blindness?
JESUS DIES. . .
When will we learn that no one wins in a war?
Jesus is taken down from the cross, given to His Mother. . .and then placed in a tomb. . .
Where are all those un-named bodies, the world over, who are never returned to the arms of their families to be given a fitting burial?
This, the 14th STATION!
But the story does not end here. Our faith and experiences tell us that there is a 15th station: Jesus arose and He lives! Though LENT may go underground and, unfortunately, goes on relentlessly, NOW and AGAIN, we can sing ALLELUIA because Jesus is with us in the fray of personal and worldly conversion.
LOVE has triumphed over hatred. . .and it can and does triumph in our midst as well. Christ is risen and He will always be with us : the marginalized, the imprisoned, the poor, the migrant. He is walking with the rejected, the maltreated and discarded, the sick and the suffering and with all women and men of good will who long to tell us the truth: CHRIST IS RISEN; HE IS ALWAYS WITH YOU!
S. Renée Domeier OSB