Wednesday June 20th 2018

A WORD FROM YOUR PARISH PRIEST March 11th, 2018

On Thursday evening at our Lenten Novena, Fr Sean Wales preached on the fourth sorrowful mystery of the rosary of the Cross. I would like for this week to make use of his homily, since it has relevance for all of us:

“Only in the light of the Resurrection of the Crucified Christ do we come to see our whole life as a way of the cross -a journey from suffering to ultimate glory.

When I lived in Jerusalem for some months I was housed on a street called the VIA DOLOROSA – SAD/SORROWFUL STREET!  It was the traditional route taken by Jesus from Pilate’s headquarters to Calvary – the actual way of the cross. 

Tonight, in the 4th Sorrowful mystery of the Rosary we will ponder for a while on the Way of the Cross; but we do so, not as a sentimental journey, but in the light of the Resurrection, we ponder the mystery of the carrying of the Cross in the life of Jesus and in our lives too.

The very first Christians loved to retrace the route Jesus took on the way to Calvary, recalling little incidents along the way which took on deeper significance in the light of the Resurrection.

When Christianity spread over the known world, it was impossible for everybody to go on pilgrimage to the holy places in Palestine, impossible to literally walk the way of the Cross, so some imaginative Christians brought the Way of the Cross back to their own countries in what became known as THE STATIONS OF THE CROSS.

Especially in Lent, disciples of Jesus are drawn to the Stations of the Cross because we easily make the connection now between the Way of the Cross that Jesus followed and the Way of the Cross in our own lives. Tonight, we just look at a few of the incidents which we can easily connect with our own lives.

4TH STATION: JESUS MEETS HIS AFFLICTED MOTHER:  Mary played an essential part in the life of Jesus: his conception, his birth, his long years of “hidden life” so she played a vital part in his suffering and death.  Any such meeting between a man condemned to death and his mother is bound to be traumatic…….but such a man, and such a mother.

By a faith instinct we know that Mary has a vital part in our Christian lives, she has a motherly role when we are suffering, carrying our crosses…even in little crosses, Mary remains at our side, our Mother of Perpetual Help.

6th STATION: VERONICA WIPES THE FACE OF JESUS:  Mary’s heart must have gone out to the anonymous woman in the crowd who rushed forward to wipe the bleeding face of Jesus: what a beautiful gesture, reminding all of us that even in  worst-case scenarios of brutality, grace and respect can appear.  This Station -as with Simon helping Jesus to carry the crossbeam- speak to us of gentleness, practical help, small gestures of sympathy and support., for these graces in our own lives and for the times we have been able to show such kindness to others, we give thanks at this Station.

This station also gives the anonymous woman a name -Veronica (true icon/likeness) reminding us that Jesus himself is the ICON of GOD, that we are all called to be ICONS of JESUS.

8th STATION: JESUS MEETS THE DAUGHTERS OF JERUSALEM:  There were always some official mourners at a crucifixion, they would moan and groan, cry and lament, even if they did not know the victims.  I like to think that Jesus knew some of them, that he had perhaps blessed their children…perhaps even that Mary also knew some of them: but Jesus words cut through their ritual weeping- Weep not for me but for yourselves and for your children. He was not looking for pity or shallow sentimentalism; rather he wanted to warn them of the suffering to come, to be prepared for their time of distress as happened in the destruction of the city by the occupying army of the Roman Empire.

The words of Jesus are for us too…we too need to steel ourselves for persecution.  With many contemporary Christians also facing crucifixion today, where many are losing their lives for His sake, Christianity is no soft option.

This Stations raises three questions which have proved to be very provocative for many people’s lives:

What have I done for Jesus?

What am I doing for Jesus?

What will I do for Jesus?

 

There are so many connections between those involved in the sorrowful journey to Calvary and ourselves: the supporters from Galilee, especially Mary Magdalene, the Roman soldier who tried to act humanely and who recognized something about Jesus and his hidden divinity….and a truly poignant moment for many was what we called the PIETA, when Mary received the dead body of her son into her lap”.

Fr Gerard, CSsR

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