Stations of the Cross March 24,2020


60 Church Street
Asheville, NC 28801


828-253-9361 x 227

Stations of the Cross March 24, 2020

Welcome to Stations of the Cross March 24, 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

Welcome everyone.  This is Brother John.  During the season of Lent, we have been traveling down the dusty narrow streets of Jerusalem.  As we explore the Stations of the Cross, we see how they parallel the human experience.

If possible, light a candle and join me in prayer:

    Jesus said, “I am the light of the world, whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”

Let us pray:  As we journey to Mount Calvary and eventually to the empty tomb, may we find each station as an opportunity to deepen our love of you, O Lord, and of our neighbor.  Bless our time together and help us to always focus on Jesus.  During difficult times in life, may your presence be our hope and peace.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen

Our theme today is “Claim the Image”.  We will focus on Station 6 (Veronica wipes the face of Jesus) and Station 12 (Jesus dies on the cross).  Our Gospel focus today is Mark 15:33-39.

To start off with today, I need to mention that Station 6, Veronica wipes the face of Jesus, is not in the Gospels.  Please remember, that some of the stations have a deep theological dimension to our spiritual life. These stations teach us something important about following the way of Jesus.  The two stations today remind us that as Christians, we constantly carry the image of Jesus in our heart.  I remember hearing a priest say that we might be the only Gospel that someone ever reads.  All acts of hope, compassion and mercy hold the image of Jesus and the cross. 

Let’s take a look at these two 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 6, we reflect on the legend of Veronica.  The legend says that as Jesus carried the cross along the route to be crucified, a woman named Veronica, steps out from the crowd and uses her veil to wipe the blood and sweat from Jesus’ face.  The image of Jesus’ face is imprinted on her veil.  As I mentioned, this station is not mentioned in scripture, but was a common legend during the Middle Ages.  Remember that during the Middle Ages, the plagues where ravishing through Europe.  This legend helped Christians remember that they carried the imprint of Christ’s message of peace, hope and compassion in their heart, no matter what.  We have a similar situation occurring today.  Fear and panic can drain us of hope and peace.  As a follower of Jesus, his holy countenance is imprinted in our heart and life.  As followers of Jesus, we are all called to be the light and peace of Christ no matter where we are or what is taking place in the world.  Jesus has touched our lives, and we reflect the power of his love. 

  The actual station in Jerusalem is located at the Greek Catholic Melkite Church of Saint Veronica.  The station is marked by a building column from the time of the Roman occupation.  It is imbedded in the street wall with a Latin inscription, “St. Veronica image of Christ’s face not made with hands”.  The column is polished smooth from centuries of Christian pilgrims touch it. 

Let us move on to Station 12, Jesus dies on the cross.

We adore you, O Christ, and bless you.
Through your love you have redeemed the world.

 Our Gospel focus is from Mark 15:33-39.

In the ninth hour (about 3pm), Jesus cited Psalm 22 by crying out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  When some of those who stood there heard this, they said, “This man is calling on Elijah.” One of them quickly ran to get a sponge which he filled with vinegar and, Putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink.  But the rest of the people said,“Wait!  See if Elijah will come to save him.” But Jesus cried out in a loud voice saying,  “Father it is finished.  Into your hands I commit my spirit.”  With these words he bowed his head and breathed his last.  Suddenly the veil of the Sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom, the earth shook, and rocks are split.  A centurion saw all that was taking place and said, “In truth this man was the Son of God”.

The early Christians used the symbol of a fish as a way to identify other followers of Jesus.  This was taken from Matthew 4:19 when Jesus told his disciples, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  Around the time of the 2nd Century, some parts of the early Christian community started using the cross as a symbol of the faith.  By the 4th Century, most Christians started using the cross rather than the fish as a symbol of the faith.  There was a reluctance by some early Christians to use it as it depicts a purposely painful and gruesome method of public execution used by the Roman Empire.

The cross is used today as a way to represent Jesus and his life.  We place the cross in our churches.  We walk behind a cross at the beginning of our service.  We make the sign of the cross over our body.  It has become a symbol of following the life of Jesus.

We find this Station 12 in the upper balcony of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.  The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is maintained by the Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, Roman Catholic, Coptic, Ethiopian, and Syriac Orthodox churches.  Each take sections of the church and maintain that section.  The Greek Orthodox Chapel of the Crucifixion marks Station 12.  A silver disk beneath the altar marks the place where it is believed the cross of Christ stood.  The limestone rock of Calvary may be viewed through a round hole in the disk.  Christian pilgrims from around the world and representing just about every branch/denomination of Christianity wait in line to venerate this spot.  This area is probably one of the few places where the members of all branches of Christianity (Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant) are in line together and are truly one in Christ.  This area is usually very crowded and absolutely quiet with many people very emotional.

Whether it is the veil of Veronica or the symbol of the cross, both represent something deep about a follower of Jesus.  Some of us were baptized and raised in the church since early childhood.  Others might have come into the faith later in life.  Other have experienced a profound life changing event that led to Christ.  However we came to follow the way of Jesus, we are imprinted in some way by the spirit of Jesus of Nazareth.  Many times, a specific individual  helped us on our journey to follow the way of Jesus.  This person emulated the life of Jesus in such a profound way, that he/she impacted our faith and love of Jesus. Who in your life has held this image of Christ?

Personal concluding prayer:

Lord, thank you for imprinting your love in my life.  I give you thanks for all those individuals that led me to a deeper understanding and love of you.  I especially give you thanks for__________________________.  As I travel the Via Dolorosa this lent, may I continue to grow in my love for you and my neighbor.  Bless me, and may I daily strive to follow the way of Jesus even when times seem difficult.  Help me to be an instrument of peace and love in this world.  Through Jesus Christ our Lord,

Amen

Thanks and recognition 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

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