Jesus is condemned to death.
Jesus, you just stood there silently as Pilate pronounced the death sentence. You were found guilty of trumped up charges. No voice was raised in your defence. Where are your friends now? Where are your supporters now? Where are we now?
There are so many people in our world, falsely accused, imprisoned and even put to death on trumped up charges. Jesus, help us to stand up for them, so, that they do not stand alone, as you stood alone.
Jesus, teach us to work for justice for all your children.
- The Cross is laid upon Jesus.
Jesus, a roughly made cross of splintering wood is laid on your already bleeding and lacerated shoulders. Silently, you take up your cross. Willingly, you bear the weight of our sin. Soldiers with whips are urging you forwards, up the hill to Golgotha, the place of the scull.
Jesus, teach us to accept the crosses in our lives, knowing that you are always by our side.
- Jesus falls the first time.
Jesus, you’re tired and in pain you fall, you’re exhausted by last night’s torture and mockery. We see you get up and stagger on, up the hill to face your destiny. But us? We fall again and again when we sin. But your hand is always outstretched to help us get up, forgiving us always.
Jesus, as we fall when we sin, teach us, like you to get up, to go forward and start all over again.
- Jesus meets His Blessed Mother.
Jesus, here is your mother, Mary. She looks at you. She, too, is in agony. Her eyes are red with tears. Her face is grown old. You look at her, the woman, who so selflessly said “yes” to Gabriel and then raised you, to die for us all.
No mother should ever bear witness to such barbarity towards her child. She knows it has to be. And you, Jesus, we wonder what words of comfort you whispered to her alone.
Jesus, teach us to respect, support and love our families and friends at all times.
- Simon of Cyrene is made to bear the cross.
Jesus, the soldiers are concerned you will not live to reach the place of execution. So, they haul a stranger, Simon of Cyrene, out of the crowd and force him to carry your cross. When Simon looks back and remembers that dark day, how proud he must have been, to know he helped the Saviour of our World.
Jesus, teach us to be as willing, like Simon, to carry our cross for you?
- Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
Jesus, a woman in the crowd rushes forward, and wipes the blood and sweat out of your face with her veil. She does what she can, with what she has. A brave woman defying the Roman soldiers, to bring a little comfort and love. Your face is forever imprinted on her veil
and her heart.
Jesus, teach us to speak out for you and be true Christians in this secular world.
- Jesus falls the second time.
Jesus, every step is painful. Your head is aching from the crown of thorns; your shoulders sore and bloody. The soldiers prod you on and upwards, but exhausted you fall, again. They pull you upright by your belt and you stagger on, weighed down by the cross and our sins.
Jesus, teach us never to give up, to have faith to carry on, knowing that you will always love us, even when we fall in sin.
- Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.
Jesus, here are the women, the mothers of Jerusalem. These women reach out to you, and weep for you. And, you, Jesus, even in your suffering, have compassion for them. In your love, you tell them not to weep for you, but to weep for themselves, because you knew of the violence and insurrection to come upon that city.
Jesus, you weep for others, even in your hour of pain, teach us to put others before ourselves.
- Jesus falls the third time.
Jesus, yet again you stumble and fall. Is it the weight of the cross or the weight of our sins that cause you to fall? You are so near to Calvary, but the soldiers’ fear is that you may not make it there. The soldiers pull you up and you set your face towards Calvary.
Jesus, sometimes life is so hard and we feel hopeless, teach us to have faith and be secure in knowing your love is unconditional and you love us even when we are not worth loving.
- Jesus is stripped of His garments.
Jesus, you are hardly conscious, but you make it to the top, to Calvary, and to the final chapter in your earthly life. Your clothes are stripped from you, re-opening your wounds. You are stripped naked in an attempt to further degrade and humiliate you.
Jesus, teach us to accept humiliation and rejection, and be confident always in your love.
- Jesus is nailed to the Cross.
Jesus, the soldiers throw you down onto the cross and roughly nail your wrists and ankles to the cross. Huge nails tear through your flesh and the cross is soaked with your blood. But even in this further agony, you ask your Father to forgive the soldiers. Your heart, Jesus, bursts with love for the vilest of sinners. You love the weak and the strong. You love the unlovable.
Jesus, teach us to open our hearts to forgive and love as you love.
- Jesus dies on the Cross.
Jesus, at last, exhausted and wracked with pain, you die. The sun darkens, the earth quakes, but even in your death, even on this stark and painful day, we know that death is not the end. You have conquered death. Jesus, you go before us into the light of eternity.
Jesus, teach us to show others your light in their darkness.
- Jesus is taken down from the cross.
Jesus, tenderly, your mother and friends cradle your body and weep over it. At last your human form is theirs again for a while, so that they can grieve and mourn you. You leave a truly gaping hole in their lives by your human death.
Jesus, teach us to be tender with the grief of mourners, and show us how to comfort them.
- Jesus is laid in the tomb.
Jesus, finally, you can be at rest – for a short time. Joseph of Arimathea hurriedly wraps you in a linen cloth and lays you in his own tomb and rolls a stone across the entrance. It is finished………just for now. Jesus, you were hidden from sight and laid in the dark tomb. But from that tomb rose new life, life that no one can destroy. A life which we, too, will enjoy one day.
Jesus teach us rejoice in and look forward that new life, a risen life with you.
In some meditations there are 15 stations of the cross, and the 12th is Jesus speaks to his mother. The others then follow sequentially. But I do not have a picture painted by Fr. Robert Barcelos to go with it, so here is the meditation with a picture added but not by Fr. Barcelos.
Jesus, you loved your mother so much. How hard it must have been to see such sorrow etched on her face! But you, Jesus, even now, want her to know love and be cared for as you leave her. You turn to your beloved friend, John and ask him to care for your mother, and to be a son to her.
Jesus, teach us to care for each other and for strangers, so that, like you, our love knows no limits.
I think at this time, this last sentence is a message we should all embrace.
Gemma Took (Reader) – Holy Week 2020