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Friday, April 1, 2011

Via Dolorosa 7/14…Jesus Falls The Second Time

Today we continue to reflect on our Lenten journey 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 humbly pray that the contemplation of these solemn steps of Christ’s journey 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

 Scripture Reading:

“Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, NAB)

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15, NAB)

“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.” (Isaiah 53:4-5, NAB)

Simply Reflect:

Sweet Jesus, you slowly make your way outside the walls of Jerusalem as the crowds kept on pressing and pushing, mocking and spitting at you to hurry up.  Yet, amidst all these noise and shouting, you found quiet solitude in the embrace of the Cross.

Nevertheless, your whole body began to shiver and tremble and your grip of the cross beams slipped as a result of the precious blood profusely bleeding from your back and your head.

As much as you struggled to hang on, your human body once again gave way to the weight of the Cross.

You fell again for the second time; this time much harder than the first, adding more bruises and wounds to your knees on the pebbled and rocky path to Golgotha.

As your face fell flat on the dusty path, the crown of thorns pierced even deeper into your head, the beams too, crashing heavily on to you.  O, the agony, the pain…the shameful suffering the Son of Man must bear to redeem His loving people…

How cruel this punishment designed by mankind?  Wood from the tree of life now becomes a human instrument of death.  Who ever gave mankind authority to play play God and take away lives?  Why, even my Father in heaven does not punish when His people sin against Him.

But this bitter cup I must drink, the will of the Father must be done.  This journey to Golgotha must be completed...

O, the weight of the Cross, the sorrows of mankind!

The soldiers dragged Him up but His body was just too weak and dehydrated.  Jesus was determined to get up for the salvation of mankind and to claim Heaven's victory over evil.

Jesus wearily lifted himself up and embraced the Cross even tighter.  The crowd seem amused and entertained by all of this, yet there were a few of his followers who were afraid and kept a distance.  What's happening to our Rabbi...our Master?...Why doesn't he save himself?

He saved others, but cannot even save himself. (Mark 15:31)

As Jesus struggled along, He faintly recalled the words of his disciple Peter, “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.” (Matthew 26:33, NAB), “Even though I should have to die with you, I will not deny you.” (Matthew 26:35, NAB)

Quiet Pondering:

Consider how often we have burdened Jesus with the weight of our Cross.  How often we have pushed Him to the limit and even gave up on Him until He fell to the ground?

Like the cruel and heartless Roman executioners, we did not allow Jesus to rest…we pushed Him to the Cross.  We strike Him, we urged Him uphill with all our demands…we weigh Him with all the cross of our sins.

Throughout this journey to the Cross, Jesus always kept His gaze on the Cross, the will of His Father and also upon His loving people lined up along His path to Golgotha.

The loving gaze of Jesus, that once brought about healing and repentance throughout His ministry and had the crowd following Him across the land, up the hills and by the shore, was now confronted with hardened hearts.

How quickly we change…yes, in a heartbeat!  How quickly we crucify God in our journey through life?  We follow God only at our own convenience...

With this second fall of Jesus, we must learn, this Lent, that as Jesus bears the burden of the Cross and falls, over and over again, in order to save us, we, too must rise and not remain fallen and sunk into the dust.

We must look into the gaze of Jesus and pick ourselves up; allowing Jesus to touch us once more…to break down the walls of evil…to carry us…to free us from the many bondages of this world…to light up our darkness…so that we can journey back once again to our ever loving Father in Heaven...who eternally awaits us, His chiildren, with open arms...

Lord Jesus, you simply and humbly bore all my burdens on the road to Golgotha and you continue to carry me each moment of this day.  Give us hope as we too, continue to share this hope with the rest of the world.  Give us light as we too, reflect this light onto the path of others.  Lift us up and help us remember and garner strength from the many times you must fall in order to redeem us.

“The way of the Cross is the road which leads to Paradise; it is the sure way to holiness.  The Passion of Christ is the greatest and most stupendous work of Divine Love.”

- St. Paul of the Cross

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