Monday, 11 February 2008

The Second Station, Jesus is Given the Cross.

You can hire medium sized, lightweight wooden crosses in the Holy Land, with which to walk to Calvary. Rival companies paint them in different colours, the easier to return for the refund of the deposit. AA Gill, the author, recounts in one of his essays that he overheard a group of pilgrims arguing over whose turn it was to carry it to the next station, each eager to carry it more than the others. I cannot think of a more perverse scene, so completely removed from the whipped, condemned man with a lacerated crown who was presented with the instrument of His own death to take to the place where he was to be killed.
Some of the early Church Fathers, who liked to find symbolism behind everything, saw the cross as representing the burden of our transgressions, although we would be as well to see it as a very heavy piece of wood, given to a battered man who was to walk to his death, for that is what it was. In our own lives people can give us crosses to bear, thus is the world, thus is the direct outcome of original sin, that is, our human desire to err and stray from the path of righteousness. Sometimes, however, it can take great strain or great weight to steady our footsteps and help us to realise what, after all, we are here for. Jesus found out at this point that His destiny was in front of Himself and He had to fulfil it for the sake of the people who had condemned Him to death and beaten Him. Thus we get a glimpse into the very being of God, the heart of the divine, which clearly burns for you and for me, even to the ultimate sacrifice.
V. The Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all.
R. He was stricken for the sins of His people.
Let us Pray.
O God, who hast said : 'My yoke is easy and my burden light' : make us so to bear it that we may obtain thy grace ; who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.
Of your charity, pray for the soul of Alma Clapham.
It is a good meditation upon scripture to read Matthew 11, verse 30 and think on how the yoke became easy and the burden light, which this station pictures for us so perfectly.