Stations of the Cross March 17,2020
Welcome to Stations of the Cross March 17, 2020
As we walk this Journey, our thanks to material from the Community of the Gospel
You can find references and graphics for this Journey at this link: http://www.communityofthegospel.org/Library/CG_Stations_of_the_Cross.pdf
Hello everyone, this is Brother John. Welcome to our Lenten series of traveling the down the dusty streets of Jerusalem as we explore the Stations of the Cross and how they parallel our human experience.
If possible, light a candle and join me in prayer: Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me with not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
Let us pray: Lord, open our heart and mind to a deeper knowledge and love of you. Help us to better understand your presence in our lives. As we travel the way of the cross, may we find that it is the way of life and love. Bless our time together and may we always focus on the light of Christ even during these difficult times. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen
Our theme today is “Brush off the Dust”. We will focus on Stations 2,3,7, and 9. Our Gospel focus today is from John 19:17
You will not find any reference to Jesus falling (Stations 3, 7, and 9) in the gospels. We can assume he might have fallen, since Simon of Cyrene was pulled from the crowd and forced to carry the cross for Jesus. But remember, the stations are there to help with our life journey. The parallel is to help us understand that life can be hard and difficult. Sometimes, we have to carry a burden that doesn’t belong to us. Sometimes we agree to carry another person’s burden. Carrying burdens is often punctuated with stumbles and falls.
Let’s take a look at these four stations along the Via Dolorosa (Way of Suffering) in Jerusalem.
We adore you, O Christ, and bless you.
Through your love you have redeemed the world.
At Station 2 (Jesus carries his cross), we are at the Church of the Condemnation. Located here are the actual large Roman pavement stones that may have been part of Pilate’s judgement seat for the condemnation of Jesus, the place where he took up his cross. One stone includes Pilate’s name marking the spot where early Christians believed that Jesus received the cross.
“So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called ‘the place of the skull’.” - John 19:17
At Station 3 (Jesus falls the first time), we are inside a small chapel that Polish soldiers and refugees built after the Second World War. The statue reminds us that like Christ, we too in life sometimes fall under the weight of burdens and difficulties.
Jesus soon stumbled under the weight and size of the cross.
At Station 7 (Jesus falls the second time), we are along the street that marks the Western boundary of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. It is believed that he left the city here, through the Garden Gate (notice the arched door frame), on his way to Calvary. It was not uncommon for the Roman authorities to let the condemned get to this gate before granting them a pardon for their sentence. But Pilate has already granted the one and only pardon this day to Barabbas.
Jesus, once again carrying the cross, stumbles again under its weight. His
strength is diminishing, and the crowds jeers and taunts are growing. The
soldiers continue pushing and striking him, making him rise and continue on.
At Station 9 (Jesus falls a third time), we are outside the city gate at the time of Jesus. This is the area called Golgotha or Calvary. This was an unused quarry that Harod the Great made into a public place so people could see the executions and learn the dreadful lesson that the crucifixions were intended to teach. Here was once the original entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. Today, this is the site of Saint Helen Coptic Church. Notice the two wooden crosses available for Christians to carry as they travel the Via Dolorosa.
Arriving exhausted at the foot of Calvary, Jesus falls yet again. Although
physically exhausted, his resolve to complete his mission carries him forward
even though the worst still awaits him.
Our journey through life is rarely without troubles and trials. Just because we follow the way of Jesus does not mean that the journey will be smooth. It does mean, however, that God will be with us along the way. What/who has helped you keep going when difficult times have arisen in your life? Think of a time in your life when you fell and the burden of life was just too great. What/who came along to bring relief, peace, and healing? When you fell, what/who helped to brush off the dust?
Let us pray,
Lord, thank you for being present in our life as a constant companion and friend. As we travel the Via Dolorosa this lent, may we grow in our love for you and for our neighbor. Give us the strength to brush off the dust during difficult times. Bless us all, and may we strive to follow the way of Jesus which is the way of love. Helps us to be instruments of peace and love in this world. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen
Thanks to the Community of the Gospel for their version of the Stations of the Cross.
Brother John Huebner, OSF, Franciscan Missionary Friar
Church of the Advocate/The Red Door Ministry