Emmitsburg Council of Churches

A Meditation on
The Stations of the Cross

Father John J. Lombardi

Images of Divine Intensity

This Holy Week let us consider The Passion of Christ Today. We’ve seen in some Bible verses where Christ continues His passion thru us…God called St Paul by grace…to reveal His Son (Jesus)in him,St Paul; and later in that epistle St Paul says: "I am crucified with Christ; I live now, not I but Christ lives within me" (Gal. 1:16; 2;19-20). St Paul also says "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, for I fill up what was lacking I the sufferings of Christ, and for His body’s sake, the Church" (Col. 1:24)…So: Christ continues His Passion. Let us now consider some of the Stations of the Cross and our lives today…

1. Jesus is condemned to death--Jesus took our place of sin and punishment…How can you help Jesus today and, however humbly "take His place" and help save souls, help others? St. Maximillian Kolbe –a Franciscan monk in a Polish concentration camp of WWII gave his life for another man who was married and with children and going to be killed­Maximillion took Jesus’ place, how can you today? Become a living Icon of Jesus today.

2. Jesus Picks up the Cross: I.e., our sins: Christ the Innocent Lamb takes them on…Saint Padre Pio took on so many of other’s sins thru his countless confessions; these confessions and sinful burdens even altered him (he had the stigmata) and yet St Pio took on more because of his compassion for sinners. When was your last confession and trust in His Divine Mercy?

3-Jesus Falls First Time=We sinners push Him down by our sinful thoughts, words and deeds. One saint said that when we gossip it is nearly impossible to re-gain the truth of the situation or of the person harmed. Kinda like if you went to the top of a belltower and shook out a pillow case of all its feathers (like spreading gossip) and then tried to get them all the feathers back in (change the gossip): impossible. How can you make your thoughts, words and deeds more pure and not cause Christ to fall? Pick the Lord back up by good deeds.

4-Jesus Meets His Mother=This shows the depth of love- and intimacy between God and the great Mother of God­so help respect your earthly mom and also promote and protect motherhood today. Think of St. Augustine and his holy St.Monica.

5-Simon Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross=Simon left crowds and comfort and we need to these also and enter into the Lord’s Passion. "Brother" Joseph Dutton heard of the need from a priest in Molokai and left comfy USA to help Bl. Damien the Leper priest for over forty years in the Lord’s Passion there: What must you leave behind?

6-Jesus meets Veronica=The name means "true image". This lady inspires and helps us go deeper into Christ’s Passion­and not to be stand-offish. Recall the Harrisburg priest who did not see the then-popular movie, "The Passion of the Christ"­saying he didn’t need to, as, in his ministry, he already sees, experiences the Passion by his nursing home visits, his counseling of couples; seeing the poor in streets. When and how will you enter in more deeply/intimately to the Lord’s Passion?

8-JesusMeets Women of Jerusalem=though He is lacerated and bruised and beaten He is still helping others even in Passion. Never let depression/sickness or trials get you too down: keep on keeping on! One of the ways God heals and frees us as this station shows is thru service and help to others. As one founder of a soup kitchen said: "I wanna go where the suffering is". That’s the Passion: Continued! And it gets us un-stuck from ourselves.

10- Jesus is stripped of His Clothes: this is the ultimate of humility­being mocked in front of everyone. The God of majesty become humility. A priest said one time: "Sometimes the only way to humility is thru humiliations." Embrace them with the Lord: sufferings spiritually sandpaper you.

11-Jesus is Nailed to the Cross: You’ve heard of extreme sports; this is extreme pain. Yet we wince at spilled milk. Some saints have enfleshily imaged thru these painful holes in Jesus’ Body a place to hide, for His bloody holes to be medicinal holes of hiding…As when St Ignatius prays the Anima Christi, "Within thy Wounds hide me O Lord---so, make a meditation upon these Five Wounds and you, yourself stowaway there.

12-Jesus Dies on the Cross: The Lord actually died for me and you, for you and I. He actually suffocated as His body was too heavy and drooped over his breathing, infested lungs. There is great sorrow. In the world let us not forget to as St Bernard said, to pray and mourn for sins and sinners one of our jobs…We all killed Him­as our Catechism teaches, not only some of the Romans and Jews­by each one of our sins…By His death He opens gates to Heaven and paradise­the center of our faith thru His death Life; Paradise; Mystical Life; the Sacraments.

13. Jesus is placed in His Mother’s care: The hardest thing in the world may be for a mother to bury her son. The Mother of Sorrows is an unpopular and kinda forgotten and disparaged devotion and title of Mary today. And yet: think of all the mothers today praying for their drug addicts sons, and wayward souls and daughters away for the church, moms praying for children in paganism and being preyed upon, at peril and sensualized and abused. We need our Mother of Sorrows -for she can deeply feel that pain and intercede for us.

14. Jesus is Placed in Tomb: All is dark. What is more morbid than a death of the Lord, with the tomb closed and little sign of change. So: we need cultivate the virtue of hope. This disposition and holy habit helps (second nature-like) to pull us through trials and tribulations . Simply, Hope = trust in trials. The darkness and challenges do not nec. go away, but: with hope (inner resilience/will power) we can go thru the troubles knowing it will knock us out. Sometimes the only way out is thru: with hope.


Read other reflections by Father John J. Lombardi