Stations of the Cross 2019

Jesus on the cross

Stations of the Cross 2019

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The Way Of The Cross

Jesus on the cross

FIRST STATION
Jesus is condemned to death

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

Reader: A third time he said to them, “Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him. But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So, Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder and handed Jesus over as they wished (Lk 23: 22-25).

MEDITATION

I see You Jesus standing before the crowd.  They are asked three times and each time they decide against You. Today we too stand in the crowd hiding away from the reality of what is happening around us. We try to blend in with crowd as we do not want to be seen as being weird or as having a different opinion from the rest of the world. We forget who we truly are and in whose image we are created.

Today we are horrified and ashamed of the high crime rate and what our country has become and are quick to give our opinion but at the same time are not willing to be part of the change or be the change.  We cannot remember the last time we drove down William Nicol and really looked, thought of and prayed for the man on the street corner instead of condemning him and making him out to be a criminal before actually knowing his story.

In that crowded square, it would have been enough for a single heart to hesitate, for a single voice to be raised against the thousand voices of evil. Whenever life sets before us a decision to be made, let us be reminded of that square and that mistake. Let us allow our hearts to hesitate and command our voices to speak out.

PRAYER

Father, we ask You to help us become more mindful of our surroundings. Forgive us Father for the times we have turned a blind eye while You were being condemned and nailed to the cross. May we be compassionate towards our friends, family and or communities.

All: Amen

SECOND STATION
Jesus receives His cross

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

Jesus called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the Gospel, will save it (Mk 8:34-35).

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus, crowned with thorns as You receive Your cross. You accept it, as You always accept everything and everyone. They burden You with its wood, yet You do not rebel, You do not reject that humiliating instrument of torture. You take it up and begin to walk. Through Your suffering You reflect nothing but love for us.

How many times have I rejected my burdens, feeling sorry for myself as I face rejection from friends, losing my job, being in a financial crisis, losing a loved one, failing an exam, disobeying my parents or feeling ashamed of the sins I have committed.

In this moment we think of someone we may know or have heard of who is condemned by the world but yet carries on with life to fulfil their full potential.

We look at someone like Nick Vujicic, who was born without arms and legs. He is so happy and has shown the world that You can do anything that only You can stop You. What is stopping us today?

The cross which speaks to us of humiliation and pain is now revealed, thanks to Your sacrifice, as a promise that from every death new life will arise, and in every dark place a light will shine. And so, we can cry out: “Hail, holy cross, our one hope!”

PRAYER

Heavenly Father we ask You Lord that we are able to receive our daily Cross just as You did Lord, knowing that it can only lead to victory. Give us the grace to look back on the story of our lives and to rediscover in them Your love for us.

All: Amen

THIRD STATION
Jesus falls for the first time

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

Surely, he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted (Is 53:4).

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus, making Your way to Calvary bearing our sins. I see You fall on the ground in pain. The cross You carry is heavy; You need help to carry it. But when You fall on the ground, no one helps You. Instead, people make fun of You, they laugh at the sight of a God who falls. Sometimes we think that having faith in You means never falling in life. Together with You, I also fall.

Let us take a moment to think about the times we have laughed and mocked our friends at school, our neighbours, and our colleagues. Jesus has asked us to see Him in the people we meet.

By Your courage, You teach us that our failures and falls must never prevent us from going on a journey with You, Jesus, and that we always have a choice, to give up or to get up, in union with You.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father we ask You to give us the courage to get up after we have fallen and to continue to walk towards our victory. We pray for all who sometime battle to get due to illness such as depression. May they find their strength in You through the power of Your Holy Spirit.

All: Amen

 

FOURTH STATION
Jesus meets His mother

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

Simeon blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed, so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed – and a sword will pierce your own soul too” (Lk 2:34-35).

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus, as you meet your mother. Mary is there, making her way through the crowded street, with many people all around her. She is walking along accompanying her son to Golgotha, the place of the skull.

Something we see every day: mothers accompanying their children to school or to the doctor or bringing them to work. Yet Mary is different from other mothers: she is accompanying her son to His death. To see one’s own child die is the worst, the most unnatural thing that anyone could imagine for a person,

Today let us think of our own mothers who take up there cross every day. Moms who looking after their terminally ill child, a mom who has a child with special needs. Let us think of the single mothers that we condemn, without knowing their struggles or their story.  Let us, instead, lend a helping hand or a message of encouragement.

I see you, Mary, as you look at your poor child. He bears on His back the marks of the pain and torture and He is forced to carry the weight of the cross; soon, no doubt, in His exhaustion He will fall beneath it. Yet you knew that, sooner or later, this would happen. It was prophesied to you, but now that it is taking place, everything is different. That is how things are: we are always unprepared before the harsh realities of life. Mary, now you are sorrowful, as any woman would be in your place, but you do not despair. Your eyes are undimmed; you are not forlorn and downcast. You are radiant even in your sorrow, because you have hope. You know that this journey of your Son will not be a one-way trip. You know, you feel, as only mothers can feel, and that soon you will see Him again.

PRAYER

Father we thank You for the example of Mary. In the moments we feel pressured to be the young girl, women, mother or daughter we see on the cover of a magazine, may we be reminded that the women Mary was a woman of strength and dignity.

We pray for all moms who faces daily struggles everyday but keep getting up and carrying their cross, motivated by the love of their children.

All: Amen

FIFTH STATION
Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the cross

Reader:     We adore you, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus (Lk 23:26).

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus, crushed beneath the weight of the cross. I see that You can’t do it alone: At Your moment of greatest need, You remain alone, without those who called themselves your friends. Yet suddenly there is an unexpected encounter with someone unknown, a mere passer-by, who perhaps had only heard about You and not followed You. Yet now here he is, at Your side, shoulder to shoulder, to share Your yoke.

At times, Jesus, we feel like You, abandoned by those we thought were our friends, crushed by a heavy burden. Yet we must not forget that there is a Simon of Cyrene ready to carry our cross. We must remember that we are not alone, and, in that realization, we will find the strength to take up the cross of those around us.

Let us take a moment to think about how we have been a Simon today. Who have we helped? Not someone we may know but someone who appears hurt and broken, someone we see but do not truly know. We look at our surrounding. We look at places like Alex and  Sandton, they are neighbours. Living in the same world, but invisible.  How are we helping each other? When do we come together in unity?

PRAYER

I ask you, Lord, to give each of us the courage to be like Simone of Cyrene, who takes up your cross and follows in your steps.
May each of us be sufficiently humble and strong to take up the crosses of those whom we meet. Grant that, when we feel alone,
we may recognize on our journey a Simon of Cyrene and not be prideful but be accepting of the help around us. Grant that we may see the best in every person, and be open to all different kinds of encounter. I ask that each of us may unexpectedly find himself or herself walking at your side.

All: Amen

SIXTH STATION
Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

He had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces he was despised, and we held him of no account (Is 53:2-3).

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus, wretched and barely recognizable, treated like the least of men. You walk, faltering, to Your death, Your face bleeding and disfigured, yet meek and humble, looking up. A woman steps out of the crowd to see at close hand that face of Yours. She sees its pain and wants to help. They do not let her pass, there are so many of them, all too many, and they are armed. But to her, none of that matters; she is determined to reach You and for a moment she manages to touch You, caressing You with her veil. Hers is the power of tenderness. Your eyes meet for a second, face meets face.

Veronica loved and followed Jesus. She suffered in His suffering. Jesus has asked us to see him others so many times. How many times do we have the opportunity to wipe the tears and sweat of a friend, a family member, the distressed person we in the shopping centre or sitting alone in a restaurant? We can all be a Veronica in our everyday lives by looking upon others with compassion and by doing charitable work.

Veronica does not stop at appearances, which today are considered important in our image-conscious society. She loves, unconditionally, a face that is unsightly, marred, unlovely and imperfect. That face, Your face, Jesus, in its very imperfection, shows the perfection of Your love for us.

PRAYER

I ask you, Jesus, grant me the strength to approach others that are in pain and are suffering. Young or old, poor or rich, friends or strangers, and to see Your face in all those faces. Help me never to hesitate in coming to the aid of my neighbour, in whom You dwell,
even as Veronica came to help You on the way to Calvary.

All: Amen

SEVENTH STATION
Jesus falls for the second time

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

By a perversion of justice, he was taken away. Who could have imagined his future? For he was cut off from the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people… Yet it was the will of the Lord to crush him with pain (Is 53:8.10)

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus, fall once more before my eyes. By falling again, You show me that You are a man, a true man. And I see You get up again, more determined than before. You do not get up with pride; there is no pride in Your gaze, there is love. In continuing on Your journey, getting up after each fall, You proclaim Your resurrection. You show that you are ready, once again and always, to bear on Your bleeding shoulders the burden of our human sin.

By falling again, Tou sent us a clear message of humility. You want to become like us, and now You show Yourself close to us, with our troubles, our weaknesses, the sweat of our brow. Now, on this Friday, You overwhelmed by sorrow. But You have the strength to go forward, You are not afraid of the difficulties that lie ahead, and You know that at the end of Your struggle there is heaven. You get up precisely to get there, to, open before us the gates of Your kingdom. In our own lives we fall but we need to keep going, we need to lift up the weight of the cross until we reach our victory.

PRAYER

I ask You, Lord, grant that we may be ready to get up after falling, that we may learn from our failures. That we do not stay down because the world tells us we are not good enough but that we get up because that is what You did out of love for us. Grant that we young people may bring the message of humility to all and that future generations may open their eyes to you and learn to understand Your love.

All: Amen

EIGHTH STATION
Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

A number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.’ Then they will say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us’; and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Lk 23:27-31)

MEDITATION

I see You and I hear You, Jesus, as You speak to the women whom You meet on the way to Your death. Each day You would meet any number of people; You would approach everyone and talk to all. Now You speak with the women of Jerusalem, who look at You and weep. I too am one of those women. But You, Jesus, speak words of warning that for me are striking – they are so concrete and direct. Nowadays we are used to a world where people beat around the bush.

We go to restaurants to spend time with our loved one’s but end up spending times on phones instead.

We are unwilling to correct others. We prefer to leave them to their own devices, not bothering to challenge them for their own good.

The women of Jerusalem not only remind us of biblical women but also a woman we can relate to today. Saint Theresa of Calcutta who was strong and bold, stood up for children and the poor who were seen as filthy and frowned upon. She loved Jesus love no matter where we have been, what we have done or where we come from.

PRAYER

I ask You, Lord, grant that, together with the women and men of this world, I may become ever more charitable towards those in need, even as You were. Give all of us the strength to go against the grain and to enter into authentic contact with others, building bridges and not enclosing ourselves in the selfishness that leads us to the solitude of sin.

All: Amen

NINTH STATION
Jesus falls for the third time

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all (Is 53:5-6).

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus, as You fall for the third time. Twice now You have fallen, and twice You have gotten up. By now, there are no limits to Your struggle and Your pain. Now, in this third and last fall, You seem completely overwhelmed. How many times, in everyday life, do we fall! We fall so often that we lose count. When a person falls that many times, ultimately all strength fails, and all hope vanishes.

I imagine myself beside You, Jesus, as You make Your way to Your death. It is hard to think that You are the Son of God himself. Someone has already tried to help You, but now You are exhausted, at a standstill, paralyzed: it seems that You cannot possibly go any further. Unexpectedly, however, I see You get up, and begin to walk once more. Yes, You are walking to Your death, but You want to do so to the very end as You are driven by the love for Your children. Your children who themselves have fallen every time by leaving Your side, by experimenting in worldly activities but You are there Lord Jesus, picking us up every single time. Dusting us off, wrapping us up in Your loving us, loving but never condemning.

PRAYER

I ask You, Lord, grant us every day the courage to go forward on our journey. Grant that we may receive to the very end the hope and the love that You have given us. May everyone confront the challenges of life with the strength and the fidelity which were Yours

in the final moments of Your journey to death on the cross.

All: Amen

TENTH STATION
Jesus is stripped of His garments

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four parts, one for each soldier. They also took his tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top (Jn 19:23).

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus, naked, as I have never seen You before. They have stripped You of Your garments, Jesus, and are casting dice for them. In the eyes of these men, You have lost the last shred of Your remaining dignity, Your one possession on this, Your journey of suffering.

Yet there is something we often forget about dignity. It is found beneath Your skin; it is part of You, and it will always be with You. All the more, at this moment, in this nakedness. The nakedness in which we are born is the same as the nakedness with which the earth will receive us in the evening of our lives. We are once again reminded that it is it not about what is on the outside but what lies beneath. It is about the heart, the intention, the Holy Spirit within us.

We take the time now to think of those who are stripped of their dignity every day. Teenagers who are bullied,  those who are judged for having less than their peers, the homeless who are condemned for being poor without knowing their story. Now is our chance to strip hatred and sin away from the world by doing our part in our own country and by being more compassionate.  It starts with you and me. Christ came so that we may be set free and stripped of our sins.

PRAYER

I ask You, Lord, grant that all of us may acknowledge
the dignity belonging to our nature,
even when we find ourselves naked and alone before others.
Grant that we may always see the dignity of others,
respect it and defend it.
We ask You to grant us the courage needed
to understand ourselves as more than the clothing we wear,
and to accept our own nakedness.
It reminds us of our poverty,
with which You fell in love, even to giving Your life for us.

All: Amen

ELEVENTH STATION
Jesus is nailed to the cross

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:33-34).

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus, stripped of everything. They wanted to punish You, an innocent person, by nailing You to the wood of the cross. What would I have done in Your place? Would I have had the courage to acknowledge Your truth, my truth? You had the strength to bear the weight of the cross, to meet with disbelief, to be condemned for Your provocative words.

Today, in the world of Internet, we are so conditioned by everything that circulates on the web; there are times when I doubt even my own words. But Your words are different; they are powerful in Your weakness.

I look all around, and I see eyes glued to telephone screens, people trolling the social networks in order to nail others for their every mistake, with no possibility of forgiveness.

I look at Your wounds and I realize, now, that I would not have had Your strength. But I am seated here at Your feet. I get up in order to be closer to You.

PRAYER

I ask You, Lord, that in the face of good
I may be ready to recognize it,
that in the face of injustice I may find the courage
to take my life in my hands and to act differently.
Grant that I may be set free from all the fears
that, like nails, immobilize me and keep me far
from the life You have desired and prepared for us.

All: Amen

TWELFTH STATION
Jesus dies on the cross

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father into Your hands I commend my spirit.” Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, “Certainly this man was innocent” (Lk 23:44-47).

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus, but this time I would rather not see. You are dying. You were beautiful to behold when You spoke to the crowds, but now all that has come to an end. I do not want to see that end; all too often I have averted my gaze, I have become almost accustomed to fleeing pain and death. I have become numb to them.

Instead, You remain there, on the cross; You await us with open arms. You open our eyes.

This is a great mystery, Jesus. You love us by dying, by suffering abandonment, by bestowing your spirit, by doing the Father’s will. You do not try to explain the mystery of death. You do more You cross over it completely in body and spirit. A great mystery. It invites us to open our eyes and to see Your love even in death. It is there that we grasp, however imperfectly, Your living and authentic presence. We will always thirst for this: for Your closeness, for your being God-with-us.

PRAYER

I ask You, Lord, open my eyes
to see You also in suffering, in death,
in the ending which is not the real ending.
Upset my complacency by your cross: shake off my drowsiness.
Challenge me always by your disturbing mystery,
that overcomes death and grants life.

All: Amen

THIRTEENTH STATION
Jesus is taken down from the cross

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

After these things, Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked Pilate to let him take away the body of Jesus. Pilate gave him permission; so, he came and removed his body. Nicodemus, who had at first come to Jesus by night, also came, bringing a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds. They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews (Jn 19:38-40).

MEDITATION

I see You, Jesus. Now You are no longer there, on the cross. You have gone back from where You came, upon the lap of Your mother. The suffering is now past, vanished. Your lifeless body continues to speak of the strength with which You faced suffering; the meaning that You gave it is reflected in the eyes of those still there at Your side and will always remain there in love, given and received.

Your new life is marked by the one thing that remains unbroken by death: love. You are here with us at every moment, at every step, in every uncertainty. While the shadow of the tomb lengthens on Your body, held in the arms of Your mother, I see You and I am afraid, yet I do not despair. I trust that the light, Your light, will shine once again.

PRAYER

I ask You, Lord, keep hope ever alive in us, and faith in Your unconditional love. Grant that we may continue, our hearts inflamed,  to fix our gaze on eternal salvation, and thus find refreshment and peace on our journey.

All: Amen

FOURTEENTH STATION
Jesus is laid in the tomb

Reader:     We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You.

Genuflecting
All:             Because by Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.

Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there (Jn 19:41-42).

MEDITATION

No longer do I see You, Jesus, now all is dark. Long shadows fall from the hills, and the Shabbat lamps light up Jerusalem, outside homes and within.

From afar, Joseph of Arimathea followed Your steps, and now, with quiet steps, accompanies You in Your sleep. Joseph was a quiet disciple who followed You, Your disciples whom walked with You daily fled. Sometimes we are like the disciples who have fled, denied and betrayed Jesus. We feel foolish standing up for own faith so say nothing. May we be more like Joseph who was there in the final hour.  A sheet enfolds You in the chill of death and dries Your blood, sweat and tears. Joseph carries You on his shoulders, but You are light: You no longer bear the burden of death, of hatred and anger. You sleep as You did on the warm straw when You were wrapped in swaddling clothes and another Joseph held You in his arms. Just as there was no room for You then, so now You have nowhere to lay Your head. Yet on Calvary, on the stiff neck of the world, there grows a garden in which no one had yet been buried.

Where have You gone off to, Jesus? Where have You descended, if not into the depths? Like us, You walked on the earth, and now, like us, under the earth, You make room for Yourself.

I would like to run far away, but You are there within me. I need not to go out to seek You, because You are knocking at my door.

PRAYER

I ask You, Lord, who revealed Yourself not in glory but in the quiet of a dark night. You who see not the surface, but in secret, entering into the depths.
From the depths, hear our voice:
grant that, in our weariness, we may find rest in You, seeing in You our nature,
and in the love of Your sleeping face, the beauty we have lost.

You knock at the door Lord but only I can open that door. In the days of darkness may we not be stubborn and prideful but open the door and allow Jesus to enter.

All: Amen

 

CONCLUDING PRAYER
Let us pray:
Merciful Father, you have called us from the dust of sin and unfaithfulness and claimed us for Christ in the waters of baptism. Look upon us who have followed in the footsteps of your beloved son, in love and sorrow. May our fasting be hunger for justice, our alms a making of peace, and our prayer arise from humble and grateful hearts. All that we do and pray is in the name of Jesus, for in his cross you proclaim your love. Amen

Everyone is kindly requested to leave the church silently.

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