And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away to crucify him. Matthew 27: 31
Reflection: The cross is placed upon the shoulders of Jesus. We see him, already exhausted by the agony in the garden, the sleepless night in prison, the loss of blood in the scourging. The dirty purple robe is torn from his back, reopening the wounds left from the whipping.
We who have carried our own crippling burdens – of pain, of work, of childhood abuse, of broken relationships, of lost dreams – can share with him the first shock of the heaviness of those rough beams as they are dropped unceremoniously on his back. Perhaps he staggers, then adjusts the weight and begins to drag the cross toward the hill of Golgotha. No polished, satiny finish to this cross – no jewels enhancing it. This is the cross – the pain, the limitation, and the dread of it that is part of the human condition.
Perhaps in the crowd which witnessed this moment in the passion was the woman who was healed by Jesus of a spirit that had possessed her for eighteen years, leaving her “bent double and quite unable to stand upright.” He had healed her and now she is walking upright, and he is bent over under the heavy cross. What are her thoughts? How do they strain toward Jesus?
What is the cross I carry? What is my share of the pain and the limitations that are part of my being human?
Prayer: Loving Refuge, I am on the lonely road, trying to find my way. I need your protection to keep me from harm. Gather me under your wings. Embrace me with your compassion. Comfort me in my uncomfortableness. Rest me in the caress of your enduring love. Sheltering One, I draw near to you, confident that you will be my home when all other homes are lost to me.
Our Father, who art in heaven; hallowed by Thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. Amen.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death, AMEN.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, AMEN.