“Jesus entered into the pain and death that sin inflicts. He accepted the torment but gave us joy in return. We whom he has sent to minister amid the same sin and pain must know that we too shall find the cross and the hope it promises. The face of every human being who suffers is for us the face of Jesus who mounted the cross to take the sting out of death. Ours must be the same cross and the same hope.” —Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross (8.114)
Lord Jesus, in hope we are saved, and we find our hope in the Cross. This cross is the one you bore for our sake as you climbed Mount Calvary and suffered a cruel death. This cross is also the one you ask us to carry each day in our lives as your disciples. As we pray these Stations of the Cross as a parish community today, help us to recognize the Cross as a gift, one that unites us more and more to yourself. Help us to accept the crosses of this life, to bear them for love of you, and to allow them to guide us to that blessed life with you for all eternity. We hope in your name, Jesus, and in your name we pray. Amen.
The First Station: Jesus is condemned to death.
Pilate answered, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate again said to them in reply, “Then what do you want me to do with the man you call the king of the Jews?” They shouted again, “Crucify him.” Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified.
The Second Station: Jesus takes up his cross.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him. Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him.
The Third Station: Jesus falls the first time.
Yet it was our pain that he bore, our sufferings he endured. We thought of him as stricken, struck down by God and afflicted, but he was pierced for our sins, crushed for our iniquity. He bore the punishment that makes us whole, by his wounds we were healed. We had all gone astray like sheep, all following our own way; but the Lord laid upon him the guilt of us all.
The Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother.
When his parents saw him, they were astonished, and his mother said to him, “Son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been looking for you with great anxiety.” And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” But they did not understand what he said to them. He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was obedient to them; and his mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus advanced in wisdom and age and favor before God and man.
The Fifth Station: Simon helps Jesus carry the cross.
As they led him away they took hold of a certain Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country; and after laying the cross on him, they made him carry it behind Jesus.
The Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus.
Who would believe what we have heard? To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up like a sapling before him, like a shoot from the parched earth; he had no majestic bearing to catch our eye, no beauty to draw us to him. He was spurned and avoided by men, a man of suffering, knowing pain, like one from whom you turn your face, spurned, and we held him in no esteem.
The Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time.
Be gracious to me, Lord, for I am in distress; affliction is wearing down my eyes, my throat, and my insides. My life is worn out by sorrow, and my years by sighing. My strength fails in my affliction; my bones are wearing down. To all my foes I am a thing of scorn, and especially to my neighbors, a horror to my friends. When they see me in public, they quickly shy away. I am forgotten, out of mind like the dead; I am like a worn-out tool. I hear the whispers of the crowd; terrors are all around me. They conspire together against me; they plot to take my life.
The Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem.
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, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed.’ At that time people will say to the mountains, ‘Fall upon us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ for if these things are done when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?”
The Ninth Station: Jesus falls the third time.
Though harshly treated, he submitted and did not open his mouth; like a lamb led to slaughter or a sheep silent before shearers, he did not open his mouth. Seized and condemned, he was taken away. Who would have thought any more of his destiny? But it was the Lord’s will to crush him with pain. By making his life as a reparation offering, he shall see his offspring, shall lengthen his days, and the Lord’s will shall be accomplished through him. Because of his anguish he shall see the light; because of his knowledge he shall be content; my servant, the just one, shall justify the many, their iniquity he shall bear.
Isaiah 53:7-8a, 10-11
The Tenth Station: Jesus is stripped of his garments.
When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, a share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, but the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from the top down. So they said to one another, “Let’s not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it will be,” in order that the passage of scripture might be fulfilled that says: “They divided my garments among them, and for my vesture they cast lots.” This is what the soldiers did.
The Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross.
They brought him to the place of Golgotha (which is translated Place of the Skull). It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” With him they crucified two revolutionaries, one on his right and one on his left. Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross.” Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes, mocked him among themselves and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.
Mark 15:22, 25-27, 29-32
The Twelfth Station: Jesus dies on the cross cross.
After this, aware that everything was now finished, in order that the scripture might be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I thirst.” There was a vessel filled with common wine. So they put a sponge soaked in wine on a sprig of hyssop and put it up to his mouth. When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing his head, he handed over the spirit.
The Thirteenth Station: Jesus is taken down from the cross.
Now since it was preparation day, in order that the bodies might not remain on the cross on the sabbath, for the sabbath day of that week was a solemn one, the Jews asked Pilate that their legs be broken and they be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first and then of the other one who was crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs, but one soldier thrust his lance into his side, and immediately blood and water flowed out. For this happened so that the scripture passage might be fulfilled: “Not a bone of it will be broken.”
John 19:31-34, 36
The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb.
When it was evening, there came a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph, who was himself a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus; then Pilate ordered it to be handed over. Taking the body, Joseph wrapped it in clean linen and laid it in his new tomb that he had hewn in the rock. Then he rolled a huge stone across the entrance to the tomb and departed.
Lord God, we praise you, we adore you, and we thank you for the saving gift of the Cross. The Cross is a sign of your great mercy and the symbol of our redemption. Strengthen us for your service through the hope that comes from the Cross, and scatter the sin that pulls us away from you. May we glory in the Cross and find our true refuge in you alone. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
“If we drink the cup each of us is poured and given, we servants will fare no better than our master. But if we shirk the cross, gone too will be our hope. It is in fidelity to what we once pledged that we will find the dying and the rising equally assured.” —Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross (8.121)