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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Via Dolorosa 2/14...Jesus Is Made To Carry His Cross

We journey, this Lent, with Jesus, Who “went out, carrying His cross, to the place called the place of the skull, which is called in Hebrew Golgotha” (John 19:17).  I pray that every step of this journey via Dolorosa will speak to your heart.

“Adoramus te, christe, et benedicimus tibi, quia per crucem tuam redemisti mundum. 

We adore Thee O Christ, and we praise Thee - Because by Thy holy cross Thou hast redeemed the world.”
– The Testament of St. Francis of Assisi – 1182 - 1226

Scriptural Reading:

“Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, while we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole; by his stripes we were healed.  We had all gone astray like sheep, each following his own way; but the LORD laid upon him the guilt of us all.” (Isaiah 53: 4-6, NAB)

“And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him.” (Matthew 27: 31, NAB)

“Then he said to all, "If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, NAB)

Simply Reflect:

Sweet Jesus, why did we make you carry the cross of execution reserved only for criminals?  The two wooden beams looked so familiar to the simple carpenter from Nazareth.

Yet, when you held the Cross, you most willingly stretched out your scourged, bleeding arms, lovingly embraced it, and tenderly kissed it, and humbly placing the beams over your bruised and bloody open wounded shoulders.

Although you were in excruciating pain and consciously exhausted, you still found joy in carrying the Cross for the sake of the whole world, you bore the cross for our sake.  We, followers of the ways of the world, felt 'victorious' again in getting rid of another agent of change…only this time, it was the Son of God.

Quiet Pondering:

Jesus, the Cross that you bore ought to be ours to carry, not you – simply because you are pure.  Like the soldiers and the rest of the crowd, we too wanted to see the gruesome scene of you carrying the Cross through the streets of Jerusalem, we want to mock you.

Either we are blinded or simply lacked courage to go radically against the crowd; we merely gaze in seemingly quiet agreement. 

Jesus, you knew our failures yet you still freely chose to remain obedient to the way of the Cross, you allowed us to betray you…the weight of our sins, you willingly bore…for the sake of uniting our souls with God.

The Cross of shame, by your obedience, will be transformed into the cross of dignity and salvation.  How can we be so blind?  How can we not recognize you?

Resolve to be a true disciple of Christ and speak up for what is the truth and justice; take courage not to be easily swayed by the crowd of the world – make a commitment not to double-cross Jesus...carry your own cross. 

Jesus, for our part in not wanting to carry our own crosses daily, we humbly beg for your mercy and forgiveness.  Help us not to create crosses arising from our own selfish desires, to burden others’ journey.

“Never forget that there are only two philosophies to rule your life: the one of the CROSS, which starts with the fast and ends with the feast.  The other of Satan, which starts with the feast and ends with the headache.” – Archbishop Fulton Sheen

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