Our Lord brought the chosen people out of the land of Egypt and they led Him to the Cross to die, and here He falls one last time before getting to the top of the hill. How many times Jesus fell, of course, we do not know and it is fairly irrelevant, we can be sure it was a fair few, with the Cross getting heavier and heavier as the hill gets steeper and he becomes more and more exhausted. The crowds would, to an extent, have fallen away now, people like to jeer from the safety of the crowd at a man with strength left, but few dare to venture out and jeer at a man near collapse, for the Jews were persected recently and were enjoying an uneasy peace. Anyone venturing out and watching the end would have had to be brave, so only the women and the few beloved disciples were there by this point, as well as the men paid to do this work, the Roman soldiers, many of whom were no better off than the Jews themselves, but had a sword and the right to strike people, so probably felt better. The kind ones would have been preparing the sponge and the chlorophyll, or whatever was on it as well as looking for the sharper nails, the easier to go in, for few glory in death and few who do this job do so malevolently, more likely to get a distasteful part of ones work over with the minimum fuss and as fast as possible, the sooner to go back home and forget all about it.
Jesus of course knows all this and must be tempted far more now to reveal Himself than he was by the Devil in the desert in the forty days and nights which we are remembering this Lent and which give us the rhythm of our lives this season. Before we get to the next few painful stations, let us reflect on what must have been happening in the thoughts of Christ and pray that temptation never comes this hard to us, who have less to give and less to lose.
V. He was led as a lamb to the slaughterer.
R. And as a almb before his shearers he opened not his mouth.
Let us Pray.
Keep us we beseech thee O Lord by thy perpetual mercy : and because the frailty of humanity cannot without thee but fall, keep us ever by thy help from all things hurtful; and lead us to all things profitable to our salvation ; we ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Of your charity, pray for the Souls of past worshippers and benefactors of St. Hildas Church, Prestwich.