A Way of the Cross:
lamenting the abuse of innocence in the Church.
1st Station: Jesus is condemned to death
Pilate - a man with power to save life – or deal out death. A man with the power to listen to evidence and to judge innocence or guilt. A man who chooses to wash his hands of the whole affair… who refuses to accept responsibility and condemns an innocent man to suffering and death.
And Jesus stands alongside all who are denied justice – who see people in power wash their hands of them.
2nd Station: Jesus carries His cross
The burden of sin and shame is placed on Jesus’ shoulders – to carry on his broken body on a journey that has no end but death in sight.
And Jesus understands the pain of carrying a burden too heavy to bear for one who is strong – a burden too great for one who is broken and alone.
3rd Station: Jesus falls the first time
The burden too great – and Jesus falls underneath it… and wonders where the strength will come from to stand again… to walk again… to stumble again.
And Jesus sees the pain of falling and yearns to give strength to those who need to rise again – and face the world – to carry on as if nothing has happened.
4th Station: Jesus meets his mother
Mary’s heart is broken as she sees what human beings have done to her son.
Mothers – and fathers – suddenly realising just what has happened to their children… what they have done to their children. Feeling helpless in the face of their pain – and their own pain redoubles.
Mary – a pure and holy mother – whose heart is big enough to love the world – gazes into the hearts of those who suffer and longs that they know her tenderness and maternal love.
5th Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross
Simon – a man pulled from the crowd to help Jesus to carry his cross. Unwilling at first – not wanting to be associated with someone so burdened – so condemned – so dirty and bloodied. But sharing the burden and coming to know the innocence of this man.
Simon – a model and companion for all who find themselves walking alongside victims – survivors – perpetrators.
6th Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Veronica – a woman who wonders what she can do in the face of so much suffering… who sees the blood – the sweat – the tears – who responds with a small cloth, just wiping away what she can, knowing that she can make little difference in the great scheme of things – but doing what she can in love.
Veronica – a model and companion for those who can do so little – but do that little with as much love as they can,
7th Station: Jesus falls the second time
The weight of the cross – the physical suffering – the increasing weight of a heart full of pain and distress – a burden that leads to another fall. As relationships fail –as bright futures become dimmed – as all that was good and beautiful feels overwhelmed by sorrow and despair.
And Jesus kneels in the dust alongside lost hopes and dreams.
8th Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
The laments of women and men who hear and see the truth and who feel powerless in the face of systemic indifference and lies – whose only response is to share the tears and the cries and the despair of those who have been abused by people they should have been able to trust.
And Jesus finds solace in those whose tears and laments echo his own.
9th Station: Jesus falls a third time
For some, the pain of living is too great – and alcohol – and drugs – seem to offer a way out. But addiction only deepens the suffering – bringing bodies and minds and spirits lower until they give way under the weight of pain upon pain… and all seems lost.
And Jesus shares this utter despair… a fall from which there seems no hope of recovery – a fall that is but a short way from death.
10th Station: Jesus is stripped of his clothing
The shame and humiliation as clothing is stripped away and Jesus’ brutalised body is exposed for all to see. And the added pain of hearing the jeers and accusations that he brought this all upon himself.
And Jesus stands alongside those who have been humiliated and degraded… and who suffer even more as the stories emerge… and who experience the accusation that they were somehow culpable in it all.
11th Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross
No escape as blow after blow cause excruciating pain and a human being is nailed to a cross – in agony – pain and degradation.
And Jesus holds in his wounded hands and heart all who have known such horrors – and loves them.
12th Station: Jesus dies on the cross
When all that is good and true seems to have left the world – so it was when Jesus, the Son of God, died and darkness covered the earth. Utter loss as the Word of Life was silenced…
13th Station: The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross
The realisation of what has been done – but too late for some. Life has passed… relationships that should have brought life have died… a Church that held itself to be good and holy finds death and corruption at its heart
And Jesus shares those deaths – lying helpless in the arms of his mother and his friends who mourn for all that they too have lost.
14th Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb
For Jesus, a place of embalming and rest… a place of waiting. A stone rolled in front of the tomb separating him from the rest of the world – where his body, they thought, would lie and return to the earth. A place of waiting and separation… but a place where God could work – where God could heal – where God could restore…
but not yet…
And Jesus waits with those who feel separated from the world – whose healing will be long and slow and full of stumbling stones along the way.
And we wait with them.
15th Station: The Empty Tomb
There is a silence…
The way is barred by a stone that is heavy –
But Christ is not to be held by silence –
Christ is not contained by the barriers humans
put in the way of truth and justice.
Christ’s body bears the scars of the suffering –
the torture – and death –
The stone is rolling away –
Risen Christ – light of life and flame of justice
Be the force that rolls away the stone.