Saturday, July 19, 2008

Stations of the Cross - WYD2008

Stations of the Cross Video
Stations of the Cross Text

Station One - The Last Supper
St. Mary's Cathedral

While they were eating, Jesus said, “I tell you solemnly, one of you is
about to betray me - one of you, eating with me.” They were distressed
and said to him, one after another: “Not I, surely?” He said to them: “It
is one of the Twelve, one who is dipping into the same dish with me.
Yes, the Son of Man is going to his fate, as the Scriptures say he will,
but alas for that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! Better for
that man if he had never been born!” And as they were eating he took
some bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it
to them, saying. “Take it, this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when
he had returned thanks he gave it to them, and all drank from it, and he
said to them, “This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, which is to
be poured out for many. I tell you solemnly, I shall not drink any more
wine until the day I drink the new wine in the kingdom of God.” After the
psalms had been sung they left for the Mount of Olives. (Mark 17:22-26)
Bread, our food, is a sign of life and survival; wine, our drink, is a
sign of joy and celebration. At this last meal before his death, Jesus
Christ offers himself to his friends through the signs of bread and
wine. He has given himself so often before in friendship, teaching,
and leadership; this time however, he gives them everything: his very
body and blood under the appearance of bread and wine. As bread is
broken, His Sacred Body will be broken on the cross. As wine is poured
out, His Precious Blood will be poured out of his side. It is a terrifying
prediction, but not without hope. In this last meal, Jesus is replacing
the old Passover with his own journey to the Father, the old sacrifices
of animals with his own self-giving. Amidst the gloom he gives thanks
and promises his friends that he will drink again with them one day.
However dark the journey of the next 24 hours will be, Jesus leaves
them a promise of reunion and joy on the other side of death.
Lord, many people lack the food and drink that bring true joy. They
do not know, or have forgotten, how you wish to meet them in the
Eucharist and share with them your humanity and divinity. Help us to
appreciate the great gift of your Body and your Blood, the key to your
Passion and ours. Draw us into your real presence at Mass. Help us to
understand that communion with you also means union with all those
to whom you give yourself. Make us generous and insightful as we try to
walk in your footsteps.

Station Two - The Agony in the Garden
The Domain
They came to a small estate called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his
disciples, “Stay here while I pray.” Then he took Peter and James and
John with him. And a sudden fear came over him, and great distress.
And he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait
here, and keep awake.” And going on a little further he threw himself on
the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, this hour might pass him
by. He said, “Abba (Father)! Everything is possible for you. Take this cup
away from me. But let it be as you, not I, would have it.” He came back
and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep?
Had you not the strength to keep awake one hour? You should be awake,
and praying not to put to the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is
weak.” He came back a third time, and said to them, “The hour has
come. Now the Son of Man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners.
Get up! Let us go! My betrayer is close at hand already.” Even while he
was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, came up with a number
of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and the
scribes and the elders. He went straight up to Jesus and said, ”Rabbi!”
and kissed him. The others seized him and took him in charge.
(Mark 14:32-46)
Jesus, about to undergo a rigged trial, torture, and judicial murder,
fears what awaits him, as any of us would. He doesn’t hide how much he
desires the support of his friends and the end of the ordeal but his whole
life has been a witness of faith in the Father he loves and of love for
the Father’s other children. He must leave the last word to his Father.
However frail his friends, however frail our human nature, he must also
maintain hope in the Father. May all who are anxious or lonely be helped
by his example and receive his power to triumph over fear.
Lord, you know by experience what it is to suffer terrible stress
and attack. You see in us, and in our world, many kinds of anxiety,
depression, loneliness and fear. You know how tempted we can be to
run away, evade our responsibilities through drink or drugs, the Internet
or other distractions. Help us, in your Holy Spirit, to be clear-eyed and
courageous. Keep our faith strong when we are under attack. Help us
always to pray with you: “Father, your kingdom come, your will be done –
your will, not mine.”

Station Three - Jesus Before the Sanhedrin
Art Gallery of New South Wales
They led Jesus off to the high priest, and all the chief priests and the
elders and the scribes assembled there. Peter had followed him at a
distance... The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for
evidence against Jesus on which they might pass the death sentence,
but they could not find any. Several, indeed, brought false evidence
against him, but their evidence was conflicting… The high priest then
stood up before the whole assembly and put this question to Jesus…
“Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?” Jesus said, “I am, and
you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power and
coming with the clouds of heaven.” The high priest tore his robes, and
said, “What need of witnesses have we now? You heard the blasphemy.
What is your finding?” And they gave their verdict: he deserved to die…
While Peter was down below in the courtyard (he denied Jesus three
times)… At that moment the cock crew… They had Jesus bound and
took him away and handed him over to Pilate. (Mark 14:53-15:1)
Jesus is not an ordinary person, but he is willing to go the ordinary way.
He is in ‘the hands of sinful men’ and imperfect institutions – as we all
are, from time to time, in a world so damaged by original sin. But on the
verge of humiliation and then destruction, he claims that the outcome
will still be a triumph for his Father, the source of creativity, of fidelity,
and of justice. Jesus draws us beyond our present, partly unjust, state,
to a better place. God’s kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven.
Lord, each of us can add to the fairness of the world, or make it
less fair, whether in our homes, among our friends, in schools or
universities, at work, or in society at large. Open our eyes so that we
can see how things really are with us. Give us the courage to be fair,
even when it’s hard. And strengthen in us the conviction that you will
never desert this imperfect world, which you both love and save.

Station Four - Jesus Before Pilate
Sydney Opera House
They led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Prætorium. It was
now morning… Pilate came outside to them and said, “What charge do
you bring against this man?” They replied, “If he were not a criminal,
we should not be handing him over to you.” … Pilate called Jesus to him
and asked, “Are you the king of the Jews?”… Jesus replied, “Mine is
not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men
would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my
kingdom is not of this kind.” Pilate said, “So you are a king then?” Jesus
answered, “It is you who say it. Yes, I am a king. I was born for this, I
came into the world for this: to bear witness to the truth; and all who
are on the side of truth listen to my voice.” Pilate said, “Truth? What is
that?” (John 18:28-38)
Jesus’ life in public and his readiness for suffering and death, stand in
contrast to a life of greed, self-preoccupation and the abuse of power.
In the end, these are not the truth of things – they are a lie, a fantasy,
even though millions of people join in their illusion. Pilate is blind to
the deepest truth of life: we are most like God, the giver, when we
ourselves give, and so share in divine life. To know this truth would
have required a change of heart for Pilate – as it does for us.
Lord, it is from you and from your friends that we must learn the
deepest truth of life. Give us the good sense and the determination
not to be swayed simply by fashion and popularity when it comes to
decisions. Let us not be, as Pilate was, at the mercy of a mob. May
we not be dominated by peer pressure or ‘going with the flow’. Let us
not mistake consensus for wisdom. And may we not let relativism or
cynicism dominate our thoughts and actions or allow others to pay the
price for our evasiveness.

Station Five - Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns
Sydney Opera House
Pilate asked them, “Do you want me to release for you the king of the
Jews?”… The chief priests, however, had incited the crowd to demand
that he should release (the murderer) Barabbas for them instead. Then
Pilate spoke again, “But in that case, what am I to do with the man
you call king of the Jews?” They shouted back, “Crucify him!” Pilate
asked them, “Why? What harm has he done?” But they shouted all the
louder, “Crucify him!” So Pilate, anxious to placate the crowd, released
Barabbas for them and, having ordered Jesus to be scourged, handed
him over to be crucified. The soldiers led him away to the inner part of
the palace, that is, the Prætorium, and called the whole cohort together.
They dressed him in purple, twisted some thorns into a crown and put
it on him. And they began saluting him, “Hail, king of the Jews!” They
struck his head with a reed and spat on him; and they went down on
their knees to do him homage. (Mark 15:9,11-19)
‘A cohort’ of soldiers- hundreds of them - mobbed and mocked Jesus,
like so many Jews and other ethnic minorities have been before and
since his death. Scourging and crowning with thorns were forms of
torture. To torture someone is to treat them as less than human, less
even than an animal. This still happens in many places today. The
tortured Jesus stands with and for anyone, without exception, guilty or
innocent, to whom this is done. And he offers them life beyond their
present suffering.
Lord of the mistreated, show us how to help those who suffer. Heighten
our distaste for every form of cruelty, small or great. Let us never take
lightly the way in which life itself is insulted whenever anyone is killed
or tortured. Make us resolute in the pursuit of just peace, whether at
home or abroad. Let us see how alien cruelty is to you, to your loving
Father and to the Spirit. Give us courage even in the face of contempt.

Station Six - Jesus Takes Up His Cross
Sydney Opera House
They took charge of Jesus, and carrying his own cross he went out of
the city to the place of the skull or, as it was called in Hebrew, Golgotha.
(John 19:16-17)
Jesus, carrying the cross from which he will be hanged, is driven out of
the city he has loved and on whose behalf he has worked and prayed.
He is an outcast, and he will remain like that until he dies. He has
been burdened, earlier, with cares and responsibilities: now comes the
final, lethal burden. He had said that following him meant taking up a
personal cross – love’s burden. Here he is, living it out, not in metaphor
but in brute reality. Sooner or later, most of us will encounter a ‘place
of the skull’ – a place of seeming barrenness, in which love’s tasks will
have to be carried through.
Lord, you carried with you not only the literal cross, but your care for
all the world. Help us to be grateful for your love of us, then and now.
Broaden and deepen our compassion for the men and women who
‘labour and are burdened’ in so many ways. Make us creative in seeing
how we might help, and generous in carrying it out. Keep us from being
discouraged when our efforts seem to fail. And help us to bear our own
cross, when that time comes, in following you.

Station Seven - Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross
Darling Harbour
As they were leading him away they seized on a man, Simon from
Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and made him shoulder
the cross and carry it behind Jesus. (Luke 23:26)
Simon had no say. Simon, like our Lord, was a victim. He was forced
to play a part in the dirty work of crucifixion carried out on behalf of
the occupying Romans. He may, later, have wanted to put the episode
right out of his mind. But willing or not, he was being drawn into ‘the
work of our salvation’. He was part of Jesus’ final offering of himself
to the Father, his saving gift to us. Many opportunities for helping our
fellow men and women go ‘against the grain’. They come at times and
in ways which we would not have chosen, but which cannot wait. May
the prospect and the power of Christ’s resurrection be our comfort and
our hope.
Lord, you tell us that whatever we do for those in need, we do for you.
You also tell us that you will not always be obvious in those in need;
the sick or the starving, the gaoled or the depressed, the refugees and
strangers, may not seem to match our image of you and this too, has
come to be true of many of the indigenous peoples of our world. But
they are truly your sisters and brothers. Help us not to ignore them, but
to walk with them and lighten their burdens.

Station Eight - Jesus Speaks to the Women of Jerusalem
Large numbers of people followed him, and of women too, who
mourned and lamented for him. But Jesus turned to them and
said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for
yourselves and for your children. For the days will surely come when
people will say, ‘Happy are those who are barren, the wombs that have
never borne, the breasts that have never suckled!’ Then they will begin
to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For
if men use the green wood like this, what will happen when it is dry?”
(Luke 23:27-31)
The women have compassion for Jesus, and he has compassion for
them. Jesus enters in to the circuit of genuine love in the human
family.. It would have been natural for someone in Jesus’ situation to
be preoccupied by with their own suffering. For Jesus, however, what
is natural and normal is to seek our good, to share the Holy Spirit’s
healing power, to bring us salvation. Like Jesus, we face the challenge
to reach out with compassion from our own distress into the distress of
Lord, we all have problems- sometimes deep ones -and we need to
face up to them. May we never dismiss offers of help, through pride
or shame or imagined self-sufficiency. May we find in our needs a
reminder of how our brothers and sisters suffer. All are frail, however
secure they may seem to be. All have a claim on the care of the Christ,
who called himself the healer of bodies and souls. All may expect that
followers of Christ will act in the spirit of Christ. May we not disappoint

Station Nine - Jesus is Stripped of His Garments and Nailed to the Cross
Carrying his own cross, Jesus went out of the city to the place of the
skull, or, as it is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified
him with two others, one on either side with Jesus in the middle.
Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: ‘Jesus
the Nazarene, King of the Jews.’…. When the soldiers had finished
crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares,
one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one
piece from neck to hem; so they said to one another, “Instead of tearing
it, let’s throw dice to decide who is to have it.” In this way the words of
scripture were fulfilled: ‘They shared out my clothing among them. They
cast lots for my clothes.’ This is exactly what the soldiers did. (John
Clothing shelters us from the elements, maintains privacy, and
expresses personality. To be stripped, as Jesus was, is to be denied
these things. The stripping also says, ‘You are beyond help now’: it jeers
at the notion of a merciful God. Sometimes we can be tempted to doubt
the existence of God or to think that he has abandoned us: the angry
atheism that would strip us of hope and consolation is itself a violence.
The crucifixion was also designed to degrade and torture. Yet in its
cruelty, it was more an indictment of those who used it than of those
who suffered it.
Lord, too many people suffer violence in everyday life. Our brothers
and sisters are victims of physical and emotional abuse, dispossession
and exile, starvation and neglect, terrorism and warfare. In our society,
violence against the unborn, sexual abuse of the vulnerable, and
neglect of the young, the old and the Indigenous are all too common.
You were on the receiving end of violence, and it cost you your life.
You knew how deeply violent behaviour is at odds with the peaceful
purposes of your Father. Teach us to be outraged both at the inhumanity
of unjust violence, and at its insult to the God of peace. Make us
channels of your peace.

Station Ten - Jesus Promises Paradise to the Good Thief
One of the (two) criminals hanging there abused him, saying, “Are you
not the Christ? Save yourself and us as well.” But the other spoke up
and rebuked him, “Have you no fear of God at all? You got the same
sentence as he did, but in our case we deserved it: we are paying for
what we did. But this man has done nothing wrong. Jesus, remember
me when you come into your kingdom.” He replied, “Indeed, I promise
you, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)
In his public life, Jesus was often found in the company of outcasts
– with lepers and prostitutes, with outsiders and sinners, or with
tax-collectors and soldiers of the occupying forces. It was to be so
to the end. He died as a convicted criminal among criminals, all of
them outcasts. In the end, though, the verdict that counts most is
not society’s, but God’s. The worst of citizens, like the best, can be
met by God. The healing of the heart can begin through the words of
a friend, through God’s Word, or through the gift of absolution in the
Sacrament of Reconciliation. To be aided in these ways is the beginning
of paradise.
Lord, it is easy for us to regard some people as outsiders, as enemies,
as expendable, but when we do this we are also regarding you as
expendable. Remind us, when we need it, how to forgive and how
to see the image of God in the face of even the most degraded or
different of people. May we regularly receive your abundant mercy in
the sacraments. Remind us of the hope of paradise for all which Jesus
brought in his life, his death, and his resurrection.

Station Eleven - Jesus Entrusts Mary and John to Each Other

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary
the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the
disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said his mother, “Woman,
this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.” And
from that moment the disciple made a place for her in his home. (John
At the foot of the cross, Mary and the disciple John stand for all of us.
Jesus had given them much and had asked much of them. Now he
consigns each of them to the other’s care. Mary is his family; John is
his friend. Now they must begin to nurture their own small community,
in his name. In the darkness of the afternoon, there is the dawning of
the Church. This is the last will of Jesus. The charge of mutual care
given by the dying God-man echoes on, even goes on echoing up to our
own day.
Lord, when we are open to real relationships we risk being hurt, as
happened with Jesus, Mary, and John. May we not stay sealed off from
one another for fear of being hurt. You, the wounded Lord, the displayer
of scars, commit us to one another’s care. Grant that we may especially
know the loving embrace of your Blessed Mother. May we be blessed by
the company and lasting care of all your holy ones.

Station Twelve - Jesus Dies on the Cross

Jesus knew that everything had now been completed, and to fulfil the
scripture perfectly he said: ‘I am thirsty’. A jar full of vinegar stood
there, so putting a sponge soaked in the vinegar on a hyssop stick they
held it up to his mouth. After Jesus had taken the vinegar he said, ‘It is
accomplished’, and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.
(John 19:28-30)
Watered vinegar is the Roman soldiers’ normal drink on duty. The
thirsty, dying Jesus needs compassion from those who are near him.
To accept the drink is also a way of accepting them. When he says, ‘It is
accomplished’, this means more than, ‘I’ve had enough’; it means that
his lifelong work of solidarity with needy humanity has been achieved
through his saving service. He has remained faithful to the Father who
commissioned him and to the men and women who needed him. When
he ‘gives up his spirit’, this is both a surrender to death and a triumph
over death. Now is the hour when he pours out the Spirit and we receive
power to be his witnesses.
Lord, you gave your life so that we might live more deeply, both now and
after death. We believe that, like you, each of us has a personal calling
from the Father, and that each of us is sustained by your Holy Spirit.
Help us to discover our vocation and embrace it whole-heartedly. Make
many of us priests and religious, spouses and parents, and committed
single people, all dedicated to your kingdom. Let us know, in sickness
and in health, that we have things to offer to the world, so loved by God.
May we be your witnesses, as you directed us to be. May we, too, at the
end, be able to say, ‘It is accomplished.’

Station Thirteen - The Body of Jesus is Brought Down From the Cross

When it was evening, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, called
Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus. This man went to
Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Pilate thereupon ordered it to be
handed over. So Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean shroud, and
put it in his own new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock.
(Matthew 27:57-59)
At the end, Jesus can do nothing at all for himself. He was persecuted
as a baby, and persecution has left him only in death. But, as is said in
the scriptures he cherished, ‘love is stronger than death’. Christ’s love
goes on, continuing to inspire acts of goodness. Joseph of Arimathaea
acts out his love for the One who has died for us all. Here Joseph
stands for all of us who are called to continue to love, even in the face
of difficulty.
Lord of life and Lord over death, when they took you down from the
cross your friends had to consign you in hope to the care of your Father.
When we face our own deaths and the death of those we love, the same
challenge remains. May your promise, ‘I am the resurrection and the
life’, hearten all women and all men. We are all pilgrims on this earth
and heaven is our true homeland. May we be blessed in the conviction
that you are the Way.

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