Scriptural way of the cross reflections

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P ARACLETE Vol. 8, Issue No. 2 Parish of the Holy Spirit, BF Homes, Quezon City March 2015 The Lord, let your last breath be my first.” ON MARCH 21, 2015, the Parish launched the Way of the Cross Garden. Located on the Pelayo St. side of the Church grounds (at the back of the Ruah Parish Center), it uses the traditional Way of the Cross and incorporates a new monument to the Risen Christ. All these are welcome additions to the image of Mary of the Poor which for a time solely adorned this section of the Church grounds. It is hoped that parishioners and their guests will frequently use the Way of the Cross Garden for private prayers and devotion, not just during the Lenten season but during other seasons at well. To celebrate this launching, and to aid everyone beginning this Lent, e Paraclete is publishing this Edition as a guide for the parishioners’ reflection on the Traditional Way of the Cross. Because of its length, it is recommended that these reflections be completed over several days. However, this is the modern version of the Traditional Stations of the Cross. Known as the Scriptural Stations of the Cross or the Scriptural Way of the Cross, it was inaugurated as a devotion by St. John Paul II on Good Friday, 1991. ereaſter St. John Paul II performed the scriptural version many times at the Colosseum in Rome on Good Fridays during his reign. e scriptural version was not intended to invalidate the traditional version, rather it was meant to add nuance to an understanding of the Passion. As a suggestion, one can do the reflections on the Scriptural Stations of the Cross (SS) while doing the Traditional (TS) as follows: SC 1–5 (TS 1); SC 6–7 (TS 2–3); SC 8 (TS 4–7); SC 9 (TS 8–10); SC 10-12 (TS 11); SC 13 (TS 12); SC 14 (TS 13-14). Our Way of the Cross Garden The First Station: Jesus on the Mount of Olives

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  • PARACLETEVol. 8, Issue No. 2 Parish of the Holy Spirit, BF Homes, Quezon City March 2015

    The Lord, let your last breath be my first.

    ON MARCH 21, 2015, the Parish launched the Way of the Cross Garden. Located on the Pelayo St. side of the Church grounds (at the back of the Ruah Parish Center), it uses the traditional Way of the Cross and incorporates a new monument to the Risen Christ. All these are welcome additions to the image of Mary of the Poor which for a time solely adorned this section of the Church grounds. It is hoped that parishioners and their guests will frequently use the Way of the Cross Garden for private prayers and devotion, not just during the Lenten season but during other seasons at well. To celebrate this launching, and to aid everyone beginning this Lent, The Paraclete is publishing this Edition as a guide for the parishioners reflection on the Traditional Way of the Cross. Because of its length, it is recommended that these reflections be completed over several days. However, this is the modern version of the Traditional Stations of the Cross. Known as the Scriptural Stations of the Cross or the Scriptural Way of the Cross, it was inaugurated as a devotion by St. John Paul II on Good Friday, 1991. Thereafter St. John Paul II performed the scriptural version many times at the Colosseum in Rome on Good Fridays during his reign. The scriptural version was not intended to invalidate the traditional version, rather it was meant to add nuance to an understanding of the Passion. As a suggestion, one can do the reflections on the Scriptural Stations of the Cross (SS) while doing the Traditional (TS) as follows: SC 15 (TS 1); SC 67 (TS 23); SC 8 (TS 47); SC 9 (TS 810); SC 10-12 (TS 11); SC 13 (TS 12); SC 14 (TS 13-14).

    Our Way of the Cross Garden

    The First Station: Jesus on the Mount of Olives

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    Luke 22:39-46 He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, Pray that you may not come into the time of trial. Then he withdrew from them about a stones throw, knelt down, and prayed, Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done. [Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground.] When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial. Reflections: Jesus, why are you praying so intensely? I have seen you pray before you chose your disciples. I have seen you pray before the multiplication of loaves of bread and fish. I have seen you pray before you raised Lazarus from the dead. But I have never seen you pray this intensely. Why, you are even starting to sweat blood? Why so much anguish, O Lord? Is it because you can foresee the sufferings you will be undergoing in the next couple of hours? Is it because you can already imagine the pain of the scourging and the crowning of thorns and carrying of the cross? But Lord, you already know all this will happen. Isnt this why you came down to earth? To suffer and die for us. Or is it because you feel your loved ones do not even have a clue as to what you will be undergoing? Look at Peter, James and John. They are sleeping so soundly. And when the time comes, except for John, they will abandon you. Or is it because you feel that all your sufferings will turn into naught? That men will not change their ways. That men will be ungrateful and continue to offend you. Many will even curse you, mock you, blaspheme you. So you may ask yourself, what for are all these sufferings that I have to undergo if countless reprobates will still go to Hell because of their sinfulness. Prayer: Lord, forgive me for also being one of these ingrates. Forgive me for finding it okay to commit venial sins not knowing that they also hurt you very much. Forgive me for neglecting to examine my conscience daily and saying an Act of Contrition. I thank you for understanding me. For continuing to give me second chances. For continuing to love me in spite of my wretchedness. Amen. Resolution: Starting today, I will try my best to examine my conscience at the end of the day, before I retire and say a sincere Act of Contrition. I will also try my best to make a confession once a month. Suggested reading:

    The Second Station: Jesus, Betrayed by Judas, Is Arrested

    Luke 22:47-48 While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him,

    Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man? Reflections: Lord, why is Judas betraying you? Isnt he one of your disciples? Did he betray You because he was disap-pointed? He joined your group, convinced that you are the man that that will redeem the Jews from the oppression of the Roman Empire. He entertained ambitions of holding a high position in the Kingdom when you have finally estab-lished it. Maybe, he was hoping to be the Treasurer of all the riches of the Kingdom. And when he saw that he was wrong, he must have felt he wasted all these years with you. He got angry and his mind got poisoned by the devil.

    How painful this must be for you, O Lord, that one of your chosen ones will be betraying you! You have been together for three years. You have been so good to him and loving him. It would have been better if he left you like the other disciples did, when they could not accept your teachings on the Eucharist. That may have been more forgiveable. But he turned against you and delivered you to your enemies. And to top it all, he betrays you with a kiss. A kiss is a symbol of love and affection. A kiss is a gesture of friendship and respect. But he has turned the kiss into a symbol of treachery and betrayal. He could have just pointed you among the crowd. He did not have to kiss you. But he did. Oh, what a wretched person, this Judas is. But Lord, hasnt there also been a Judas in me many times before? I receive you in Holy Communion, but the same tongue that receives you becomes a poison tongue against people. I must have committed countless times the sin of gossip by saying unkind things towards other people. Sometimes, I pray with hands clasped together and asking you for so many things. But when I come across a poor person right outside the Church asking for bread, the same hands refuse to reach to my pockets

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    and give the person some small money to buy food. Also like Judas, sometimes I expect to get something in return for all the novenas that I make, the Masses I attend and serve, the money I give to the Church. And when I dont get that something, I rebel. I even feel worse when instead of getting something good, I get something bad like getting sick, or running out of money or seeing my loved ones suffer. In other cases, I do not make good use of the blessings and graces you have showered on me. Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the many times, I acted like Judas. You have been so good to me. You have showered me with countless graces and blessings and yet, I do not make good use of them. And forgive me Lord, whenever I have a tendency to focus on temporal and worldly things instead of spiritual things. Help me to have the strength to choose you against creatures and worldly things. Amen. Resolution: Lord, starting today, I resolve to spend more time in spiritual readings and cut down on my leisure and entertainment time.

    Suggested reading:

    The Third Station: Jesus is Condemned by the Sanhedrin

    Luke 22:66-71 When day came, the assembly of the

    elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. They said, If you are the Messiah, tell us. He replied, If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God. All of them asked, Are you, then, the Son of God? He said to them, You say that I am. Then they said, What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips! Reflections: Lord, why do you answer questions like this? Why dont you just tell them categorically, that you are the Messiah and prove to them once and for all that you are God? Like turning one of these elders into a rat in front of his peers. That would surely make them kneel and bow their heads and acknowledge You as their Lord. But then, again, was this the whole point of your mission here on earth? Did You come here just to let people know You are God? No! You have no need for that kind of recognition. You know You are God and You do not need anyone to confirm that. No praise is needed to add glory to Your Name. You came to earth to die and save us from our sins. And You came to earth to show us how to live our lives here on earth so that one day we may live our lives in heaven. You wanted people to focus on Your teachings. On the virtues You manifest. On your love, mercy and compassion. On how you communion with your Father. Also, Lord, why do the elders still ask you this question? Havent they seen the signs? You have given them so many signs; the healing, the multiplication of loaves of bread and fish; the raising of Lazarus from the dead and so on. What more do they need? Even if you tell them You are the Messiah, they will still not believe, because of their hard heartedness. And also, Lord, arent these elders supposed to be the experts in the Old Testament. Had they opened their minds and hearts to the Scriptures, they would know You are the fulfillment of all the prophesies in the Old Testament. But their pride and lust for power have made them spiritually blind. They will never accept that You, a son of a carpenter, could be the Messiah. For them, You were not one of them. You did not belong to the so called Ivy League. You were just a son of a carpenter Oh, shame on these Sanhedrins. The Lord was in front of their very eyes, and yet they did not recognize Him. But what about me? Do I really recognize Jesus as my Lord? Do I really listen to His teachings? Do I emulate His virtues? Do I show mercy and compassion to the least of our brethren? A miracle takes place every Mass that I attend. But do I appreciate the great miracle that takes place? Am I not awed that Jesus, my Lord and my God, with all His powers and glory has become present and hidden under the appearance of mere bread and wine? Or has it become routinary? Prayer: O Lord, the assembly of elders didnt recognize You as the Messiah because they never really understood your Mission of Salvation. They only saw You as a threat to their position as the religious leaders and they hated You for exposing their hypocrisies and therefore they condemned you as a criminal deserving of Crucifixion.

  • The Paraclete March 2015 4Grant me the strength, oh Lord, to be different. Help me to truly understand what it means when I confess you to be my Lord and Savior. Help me to have the strength to center my life on You. Help me to have the strength to deny myself, carry my own cross and follow You. For you are the Truth, the Way and the Life. For You alone are the path to salva-tion. Help me to recognize You in the people I meet, espe-cially in the poor and the suffering. Help me to truly believe your Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Amen.

    Resolution: To do an act of kindness at least once a day for the poor and suffering.

    Suggested readings:

    The Fourth Station: Peter Denies Jesus

    Luke 22:54-62 Then they seized him and led him away, bring-ing him into the high priests house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, This man also was with him. But he denied it,

    saying, Woman, I do not know him. A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, You also are one of them. But Peter said, Man, I am not! Then about an hour later still another kept insisting, Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean. But Peter said, Man, I do not know what you are talking about! At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times. And he went out and wept bitterly. Reflection: Lord, why did Peter deny you? Isnt he one of your favored disciples? Didnt you heal his mother-in-law? Didnt he say you were the Son of God? And didnt he say he was ready to die for you? And yet when people started to accuse him to be one of your disciples, he not only denied that he knew You once, but thrice. Perhaps, like Judas, Peter thought You were to become an earthly King and lead an uprising against the Roman Empire. When You were popular, He was not afraid of being associ-ated with You. But now when there was an unruly mob out to condemn you, he suddenly became afraid. When he saw that You were not going to fight back and call for Your fans and supporters to defend You, he suddenly lost all his courage. Perhaps this scary scenario never entered his mind. A few days ago, the people were shouting Hos-sana to the King. Now the exact opposite is hap-pening. This sudden turnaround of events may have caught Peter flat footed. He was not prepared for this. He may have panicked. Fear must have overcome him. And when this happened, he forgot one thing. He forgot to pray. He forgot to ask for help from God. He relied on his strength alone. And then he failed. Rev. Dr. Mark Roberts wrote Fear can have power over us. It can lead us to do what we would otherwise never do and keeps us from doing which we know to be right. When were afraid, we can forget our commitments, our values, our loves. In fearful moments, all we think of is how to protect ourselves, perhaps at any cost. In fear we can strike out thoughtlessly against a perceived enemy. In fear we run away rather than standing for what we believe. Fear causes our adrenaline to race and compromises our judgment. And it is during these moment of truth, that we need to pray and pray hard. Dr. Roberts further wrote: Though you and I might never deny Jesus in such a blatant way as Peter did, I would suggest that we might indeed deny him in less obvious ways, also be-cause of fear. Have you ever sensed that the Lord was urging you to do something for his sake, but then you chickened out because you were afraid? Have you known what its like to downplay the significance of your faith in some conversation because your were afraid of what people might think of you? Have you ever let fear keep you from experiencing the full-ness of life in Christ? I know I have, too many times to count. What is the antidote to such fear? Its nothing else but prayer. Prayer: Forgive me, dear Lord, when I let fear get in the way of my relationship with you. Forgive me for all the times Ive fallen short in my discipleship because Ive

  • The ParacleteMarch 2015 5been afraid. Forgive me for failing to trust you when youve proven yourself to be so utterly worthy of my trust. Help me, Lord, not to be like Peter in this story. When hard times come, help me to trust you more. When my adrenaline starts to pound, clouding my mind and suffocating my heart, help me to receive your peace. When Im tempted to deny you, either in words or deeds, or by failing to speak or act, help me to trust and obey. May I live my whole life in honor of you! Amen.(Prayer composed by Rev. Dr. Mark Roberts)Resolution Not to be afraid to talk about Jesus in public es-pecially with members of my family, relatives and friends. Not to be afraid to make the Sign of the Cross

    Suggested Readings:

    The Fifth Station: Jesus is Judged by Pilate

    Luke 23:13-25 Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. I will therefore have him flogged and release him.

    Then they all shouted out together, Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us! (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; but they kept shouting, Crucify, crucify him! A third time he said to them, Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him. But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished. Reflection: Oh Lord, what painful emotions you must have felt. First one of your disciples betrayed You. Then your chosen people rejected you. Then you have the High Priests falsely accusing You. Then your appointed leader of the Church denied you. Then now, we have Pilate judging You unjustly. Any one of these emotions could already make one suffer with anguish and bitterness. But to suffer five of these painful emotions all at the same time is beyond any human experience. Lord, how did you feel when one of your creatures dare exercise his power over you and sentence you to death? Didnt he know he was talking to the God of all creation? But Pilate is a strange man. He says you are not guilty, and yet he sentences you to be crucified. What kind of man is he, Lord? Didnt he have principles? Why did he allow himself to succumb to the shouts of the lynching mob? Didnt he have the moral conviction to do what he thought was right? Worse, Lord. Pilate also tried to wash his hands off any responsibility for your death. Perhaps Pilate really believed he was innocent of your death. Or perhaps, he rationalized and convinced himself that he did everything he could to stop your crucifixion. But Pilate cannot excuse himself for his central role in your death, Lord. He alone had the authority in Jerusalem to sentence you to death by crucifixion, and he must bear this guilt. Judas could have betrayed You. The chief priests could have arrested You. But if Pilate did not sentence You to death, You would have been set free. But Lord, am I not like Pilate in many ways? I am afraid at times to go against the popular sentiment prevailing at the moment. I am afraid at times to display my faith. I am afraid at times to stand up for what is right. In another way, I am also like Pilate when I rationalize my sins, blaming them upon others? How often do I fail to take responsibility for what I have done wrong, preferring to assign the blame to my genes, to my environment, to society or even to my government leaders. Do I not realize that this is being dishonest. Do I not realize that when I fail to accept responsibility for my sins, I lose the opportunity to experience forgiveness for them? If Im blaming others when I do wrong, then surely I wont confess what Ive done as sin. And this, in turn, will keep me from

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    experiencing the grace of God with respect to this particular sin. Prayer: Lord, as I go on with my life, help me try not to be like Pilate. Help me not to try to wash my hands of that which I have done wrong. Help me to have the strength to accept responsibility for my sinful actions. Help me to tell God the truth about my sins so that I might experience His forgiveness through Christ. You know how easy it is for me to rationalize. You know that I can easily fool myself into thinking I havent really done wrong. By Your Spirit, grant me the light to clearly see where I have missed Your mark, so that I might confess truly and fully. Help me to experience the forgiveness You offer in Christ, and to experience the cleansing of my soul, so that I could start to live as a renewed person. Amen. Resolution: To accept full responsibility for the sins I have committed during the day and be truly sorry for them.

    Suggested reading:

    The Sixth Station: Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns

    Luke 22:63-65; John 19:2-3 Luke: Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and kept asking him, Prophesy! Who is it that struck you? They kept heaping many other insults on him. John: And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! and striking him on the face. Reflection: Lord Jesus, how could these cruel people do this to you? Do they not know you are the God of all creation and source of all life? They were not contented to whip you. But they even scourged you. Their whip was made of several (at least three) thongs or strands, each perhaps as much as three feet long, and the strands were weighted with lead balls or pieces of bone. This instrument was designed to

    lacerate. The weighed thongs struck the skin so violently that it broke open. But they just did not scourge you, they flogged you. The flagellum was a much more torturous instrument, the lashes were delivered without any compassion or consideration for the victims health, and Roman law imposed no limit to the number of lashes inflicted at scourging. Lord, if the number of wounds you had revealed to St. Bridget (more than 5,000) was an indication, then you were flogged thousands of times. Ordinarily, You should have already died out of loss of blood. But as St. Alphonsus wrote, You willed it as God, to live so You could still carry the cross and be crucified. Lord, werent they contented in scourging You? Now they had to make a crown of sharp and long thorns and pounce it on your head with a reed. These thorns oh Lord, surely penetrated deep into your head. It must have caused so much blood to flow and cover your eyes and face. I cannot imagine the pain you must have suffered. But this was not enough. They had to mock you, spit on you and humiliate you. Prayer: Lord, whenever I am tempted to sin, especially the sin of the flesh, let me remember the pain on your Sacred Flesh which you suffered from each of the thousands of scourgings. And help me remember that each of my sins of the flesh meant another scourging on You. Grant me, O Lord, the strength to mortify my senses. Amen. Resolution: To avoid watching tv shows and movies that would depict scenes that could arouse my passions.Suggested Readings:

    The Seventh Station:

    Jesus Takes Up the Cross

    Mark 15:20 After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. Reflection: Lord, it would have been better if Pilate just had you taken up your cross from the very start. At least, you would still be fresh and have the strength. But you were exhausted physically and emotionally. You must have lost much of your blood already. And yet without any pity, they still had made you carry the Cross. The crossbeam alone was said to weigh more than a hundred pounds and the com-

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    plete cross was said to weigh more than 300 pounds. And Lord, you had to carry that heavy cross for about a hundred yards. No wonder, You revealed to St. Bernard, that your most painful wound was your wound on your shoulder. Prayer: O Loving Jesus, Meek Lamb of God, I, a miserable sinner, salute and worship the most Sacred Wound of Thy Shoulder on which Thou didst bear Thy heavy Cross, which so tore Thy Flesh and laid bare Thy Bones as to inflict on Thee an anguish greater than any other wound of Thy Most Blessed Body. I adore Thee, O Jesus most sorrowful; I praise and glorify Thee and give Thee thanks for this most sacred and painful Wound, beseeching Thee by that exceeding pain and by the crushing burden of Thy heavy Cross, to be merciful to me, a sinner, to forgive me all my mortal and venial sins and to lead me on towards Heaven along the Way of Thy Cross. Amen. (Prayer composed by St. Bernard) Resolution: To offer my daily trials to the Lord, whether they be heavy or light.

    Suggested Readings:

    The Eighth Station: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross

    Luke 23:26 As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. Reflection: Lord, what a shock this must have been for Simon! He must have been in the wrong place at the wrong time. He was just travelling to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and stumbled accidentally into a procession of people accompanying you, O Lord. And

    suddenly, the Roman soldiers pressed him into carrying your Cross. No doubt Simon was hesitant, fearing that he might end up sharing your fate. Yet he knew enough not to provoke the soldiers, so he took the cross as ordered.

    On the other hand, he must have been in the right place at the right time. How blessed can he be that he was chosen to be the one to help you O Lord! Prayer: Dear Lord, the powerful example of Simon re-minds me that I am also to take up the cross and follow you. You have called me to die to myself so that I might live for you. I confess that sometimes I resist this call, even though I know that in dying to myself I find true life in you. So help me, Lord, to carry my cross, to give my life away so that I might receive the abundant life of your kingdom. I could not do this were it not for the fundamental fact that you took my place on the cross. Through you, I am for-given and invited into the fullness of life. In your death, I am raised to new life. All thanks and praise be to you, Lord Je-sus, for bearing my sin on the cross, so that I might bear the cross into eternal life, both now and forever. Amen. (Prayer by Rev. Dr. Mark Roberts)Resolution: To have patience in times of trials and tribula-tions and to carry out my daily duties and responsibilities with love and joy in my heart. To remember to help others carry their crosses in the midst of my problems.

    Suggested Readings:

    The Ninth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

    Luke 23:27-31 A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but

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    weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that nev-er nursed. Then they will begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry? Reflection: Lord, why did the Jews have to suffer when Jerusalem, and many other parts of Israel, would be ravaged and razed by the Romans? Is it because they asked You to be crucified? But Lord, were the majority of the Jews crying out for your blood? Or was it only an unruly mob that were bribed by the chief leaders who are to be blamed? Wasnt the great crowd that accompanied you when you were car-rying the cross just silent? Didnt St. Luke write And when all the crowds who had gathered there for

    this spectacle saw what had taken place, they returned home, beating their breasts (Luke 23:48). This can only mean that the great majority of Jews who witnessed Your crucifixion were horrified, and not happy, to see you die. Or is it precisely because they were silent, that they were also to be blamed. They just stood there watching. They did not defend you. They did not demand your release. After all the good you have done to them, they did not lift a finger to fight for your life. Prayer: Lord, help me not to be like the apathetic crowd. When someone attacks You, O Lord, grant me the strength to defend You even when that someone is a friend, a close relative, or a client. Help me not to be afraid to practice my faith even when it is not a popular thing to do. Help me not to be afraid to voice out my opinion even when I risked being called old fashioned or even laughed at.

    Resolution: To ask for the grace of faith daily and in particular, whenever I pray the Holy Rosary so that when the time comes, I would be prepared to defend it.

    Suggested readings:

    The Tenth Station: Jesus is Crucified

    Luke 23:33-4, 47 When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing. And they cast lots to divide his clothing. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, Certainly this man was innocent.Reflection: Lord, after undergoing the most cruel and most painful tortures ever inflicted on a person, and while hanging agonizingly on the Cross with your Sacred Hands and Feet nailed to the Cross, the first word you uttered was to ask Your Father in Heaven to forgive your enemies and your executors. Lord, when you said to your disciples to love their enemies and do good to those who persecute you, many would surely have thought, it is easier said than done. But you proved it to one and all, and of all times, when you were dying. Indeed, what greater proof do we need that you meant every word you said. Prayer: Gracious Lord, now that you have given me an exam-

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    ple, grant me the strength to forgive those who have done wrong to me; understand those who have hurt my feelings and pray for those who may have said unkind words about me. Amen. Resolution: Whenever someone hurts my feelings during the day, to remember to pray for him, as the person may not really mean to hurt my feelings or may be in pain.

    Suggested readings:

    The Eleventh Station: Jesus Promises His Kingdom

    to the Good Thief

    Luke 23:39-43 One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us! But the other rebuked him, saying, Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong. Then he said, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. He replied, Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise. Reflection: Lord, how I envy the good thief, Dimas! How sweet to hear those words, and how I hope that when my hour of death comes, I too will hear those words. Truly, I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise. Lord, what did Dimas do that you allowed him to go direct to Paradise with you? Could it be because while His Apostles, except for John, abandoned Him, Dimas was not afraid to side with you? Could it be because while Peter denied you three times, Dimas acknowledged to one and all that you are God? Could it because while the Jews refused to hail you as their king, Dimas asked you to

    remember him when you come into your kingdom? Could it because while Pilate sentenced you to death, Dimas said to one and all, that you have done nothing wrong? Yes, Lord, like John the Baptist, Dimas, at that hour, when he too, was hanging on the cross, was a voice in the wilderness, alone, proclaiming you God and King in the midst of the unruly mob. For that, you showed him mercy and love. Prayer: Dear Lord, grant me the strength not to be ashamed of you, not to be afraid to fight for you, not to be overwhelmed when I am alone in proclaiming you as my Lord and Savior. I thank and praise you for your mercy. Many times, have I offended you. And many times, you have forgiven me. Many times, have I chosen creatures over you. And many times, you have chosen to give me a chance. Thank you so much Lord for showing me your mercy and love in spite of my wretchedness Amen. Resolution: To meditate on the Crucifix for a few minutes everyday and contemplate on the love and mercy of our Lord, Jesus.

    Suggested readings:

    The Twelfth Station: Jesus on the Cross, His Mother, and His Disciple

    John 19:25-27 Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, "Woman, here is your son." Then he said to the disciple, "Here is your mother." And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

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    The Thirteenth Station: Jesus Dies on the Cross

    Luke 23:44-47 It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the suns light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, Father, into your hands I commend my spirit. Having said this, he breathed his last. When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, Certainly this man was innocent. Reflection: Lord, your love for us is incomprehensible. Why did you have to die for us? We are not worth dying for, as we are mere creatures. And if you wanted to save us from our sins, you did not have to die. You did not have to suffer. Even just a drop of blood would be suffi-cient. But you wanted to show us how much you loved us. Were we to truly understand the love you bore for us, we would readily abandon all our possessions and world-ly desires. Were we to truly appreciate the sufferings you underwent, we would be more than willing to carry our crosses. Were we to truly realize that you suffered innu-merable wounds from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet, we would not be able to resist loving you. Just as you died on the cross to bring us life (supernatural life), so too should we die to our sins to gain the graces you have merited for us by your death on the cross.

    Prayer (Before the Crucifix)

    Look down upon me, good and gentle Jesus while before Your face I humbly kneel and,

    with burning soul, pray and beseech You

    to fix deep in my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity; true contrition for my sins,

    and a firm purpose of amendment.

    While I contemplate, with great love and tender pity,

    Your five most precious wounds, pondering over them within me

    and calling to mind the words which David, Your prophet, said to You, my Jesus:

    They have pierced My hands and My feet,

    they have numbered all My bones.

    Amen. (Catholic Online)

    Resolution: To meditate on the Passion and Death of Jesus frequently.

    Suggested readings:

    The Fourteenth Station: Jesus is Placed in the Tomb

    Luke 23:50-54; Mark 16:1-4

    Luke 23 Now there was a good and righteous man named

    Reflection: Lord, how much you must have grieved when you saw your beloved mother, at the foot of the cross suffer-ing and having her own emotional calvary. You know how seeing you suffer must have pierced the heart of your moth-er. How you must have longed to come down from the cross and embrace and console her! You had the power to do it, but you didn't. This must have added more to your already excruciating sufferings. In the midst of this Lord, you still remembered to leave with us your last legacy before you died. You gave us your mother. A mother whose love for us comes only second to yours. A mother whose mercy for us surpasses all the angels and saints. How blessed we are that we now have a mother in heaven interceding for us for all our temporal and spiritual needs.Prayer: When I think of your mother, Lord, I remember that you weren't just the Son of God bearing the sins of the world. You were also the son of Mary, the boy whom she loved. Mary gives us a touching reminder of your humanity, Lord. Because you were truly human, because you truly suffered, you did in-deed bear the sins of the world, and mine as well. All praise be to you, Lord Jesus!Amen.(Prayer by Rev. Dr. Mark Roberts) Resolution: To pray the Holy Rosary everyday. Suggested reading:

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    Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning.

    Mark 16 When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb? When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.

    Reflection: Lord, as they brought your Sacred Body from the Cross, how painful it must have been for your Mother Mary. As they removed the nails on the cross, she would remem-ber the sound of them hammering down the nails on your Sacred Hands and Feet. As your Body laid on her lap, she could see up close all your wounds and she would remember the sight of you being flogged thousands of times. And as she kissed your Face, which is covered by blood, she would remember the crowning of thorns on your Sacred Head. While you have already passed away, your mother continued to undergo her emotional calvary and the piercing of her heart. Prayer: Lord, please help us to love you as your Moth-er Mary did. Help us to follow you as your Mother Mary desired. Help us to unite our sufferings with you the way

    your sorrowful mother united hers. So that one day we may be in the abode of your Heavenly Father. Amen. Resolution: To visit the Blessed Sacrament many times a week to show our love for Jesus.

    Suggested readings:

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