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Monday, April 4, 2011

Via Dolorosa 8/14…The Women of Jerusalem Weep Over Jesus

In the Fourth Week of Lent, we continue to reflect on our 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:

“Then God said: "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…God created man in his image; in the divine image he created him; male and female he created them…God blessed them…” (Genesis 1:26-28, NAB)

“A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children…” (Luke 23:27-28, NAB)

“He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; there was in him no stately bearing to make us look at him nor appearance that would attract us to him.  He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, accustomed to infirmity, one of those from whom men hide their faces, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.  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.” (Isaiah 53:2-4, NAB)

Simply Reflect:

O Jesus, you looked up and saw that there are so many people in the crowd, vicious people, curious people, provoking people, hardened people, indifferent people, wailing women, angry men, restless young, old, sad, the poor, passing travelers, even innocent children…the human race…created and blessed by God, the Father, in His very own image.

Is this how Creation return ‘blessings’ the Creator?  Is this how Creation mirrors the image of God? Is this how they pay homage to the Son of Man?

To most of the faceless people in the crowd, Jesus was no different from the two or many other previous thieves condemned to death on Golgotha.

Jesus pondered and remembered His people…some of whom faithfully followed Him during His preaching and healing ministry…in Judea…Galilee… They are only humans…

“Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34, NAB)

He looked further up and the peak of Golgotha was in close sight.  This narrow, rough and steep ‘procession’ still has a bit more to go.

The Roman executioners became even more brutal and continued flogging, lashing, whipping, cursing and spitting at Jesus…urged on by the crowd of eager spectators.

Jesus, perhaps pondered...I came to preserve redeem life…yet you 'glorify' me with the ultimate destruction of life!

“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling!” (Matthew 23:37, NAB)

Jesus can barely move any quicker...His steps were heavy…He almost falls again but managed to hold on for the sake of redeeming humanity…for the sake of the will of His Father in Heaven.

“…My Father, if it is not possible that this cup pass without my drinking it, your will be done!” (Matthew 25:42, NAB)

On witnessing this gruesome scene, the wailing, weeping and crying from some women amongst the crowd grew even louder and louder…piercing the dusty air...filled with compassion…sinfulness, repentance, hopelessness…

“As a woman about to give birth writhes and cries out in her pains, so were we in your presence, O LORD.” (Isaiah 26:17, NAB)

Jesus managed some words of consolation to them…Weep not, for me…Weep not, for me…but for your children…and your children's children...

“…take care and be earnestly on your guard not to forget the things which your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your memory as long as you live, but teach them to your children and to your children's children.” (Deuteronomy 4:9, NAB)

Quiet Pondering:

As you hear, see and contemplate all these brutal scenes vividly, on the way of the Cross to Golgotha, these ought to make you reflect deeply.  How do you understand all these events?  What is your response to Jesus this Lent?

We continue to hear the stream of echo in our heart...Do not weep for Jesus; instead weep for yourself, your children, your children’s children...

“Yet I, like a trusting lamb led to slaughter, had not realized that they were hatching plots against me: “Let us destroy the tree in its vigor; let us cut him off from the land of the living, so that his name will be spoken no more.”” (Jeremiah 12:19, NAB)

“If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself.” - Saint Augustine


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