Station IX: Jesus falls a third time
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you:
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
I am the man who has seen affliction under the rod of his wrath; he has driven and brought me into darkness without any light. He has besieged me and enveloped me with bitterness and tribulation; he has made me dwell in darkness like the dead of long ago. Though I call and cry for help, he shuts out my prayer. He has made my teeth grind on gravel, and made me cower in ashes. “Remember, O Lord, my affliction and bitterness, the wormwood and the gall!”
He was led like a lamb to the slaughter:
And like a sheep that before its shearers is mute, so he opened not his mouth.
Reflection: Kyrie Eleison
Hebrews 4: 15-16
“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
“All things come in threes” I have so often heard us say, superstitiously. But at this station I feel the weight of this three to the depth of my soul The third time is devastating. The night before our Lord Jesus walked this walk of the cross the rooster crowed three times. Each time, a denial and a betrayal. Each one, devastating. Each betrayal echoing into the stillness of night air the frailty of our human weakness. At the last betrayal, Simon Peter weeps bitterly at the sheer devastation of the third time. And yet, what extends to Peter amid his lamentations is unconditional love and mercy.
Now, the weight of three falls upon us again, as Jesus falls on the journey to the cross. The third time can feel like the end, the crushing and powerful point of no return. We stand at this station, feeling the weight of this third fall and acknowledging the greatness of our own human frailty as we watch Jesus fall beneath the weight of the cross. At this same moment, with humble gratitude, our great High Priest sympathizes with our weakness, grants mercy to us when we bear the unbearable weight of the world, reminds us that even at the point where we lose all hope we are never, ever alone. The weight of these three betrayals, three falls, these next three days…and yet, unbounded mercy, love and grace endure.
O God, by the passion of your blessed Son you made an instrument of shameful death to be for us the means of life: Grant us so to glory in the cross of Christ, that we may gladly suffer shame and loss for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.