Jesus Speaks to the Women of Jerusalem,
Print by Eric Gill (1882-1940) ,
Executed in 1917,
Wood engraving on paper
© Tate Gallery, London
The Stations of the Cross - Station 8: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
Luke 23: 28-31
Jesus turning to them said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For behold, the days are coming when they will say, 'Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never gave suck!' 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 on the woodblock print
We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you
Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Even in your darkest hour, you care for the weeping people lining the streets of Jerusalem. You simply do not ignore their tears of despair. What a graceful moment. You stretch out your right hand to three women and I can hear you quote the prophets. There you are, still teaching us in your darkest hour.
The cross is connecting you all: some are standing behind it, some in front, and you are fully embracing your cross. The women have stopped weeping. You told them to. Give me the gift of tears to recognise my own sins: not tears of self-pity, but tears of thankfulness for what you did for us.
Our Father, who art in heaven…
Hail Mary, full of grace…
Glory be to the Father and to the Son…
Normal Gospel reading for the day: John 11:45-56:
Many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary and had seen what Jesus did believed in him, but some of them went to tell the Pharisees what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and Pharisees called a meeting. 'Here is this man working all these signs' they said 'and what action are we taking? If we let him go on in this way everybody will believe in him, and the Romans will come and destroy the Holy Place and our nation.' One of them, Caiaphas, the high priest that year, said, 'You do not seem to have grasped the situation at all; you fail to see that it is better for one man to die for the people, than for the whole nation to be destroyed.' He did not speak in his own person, it was as high priest that he made this prophecy that Jesus was to die for the nation – and not for the nation only, but to gather together in unity the scattered children of God. From that day they were determined to kill him. So Jesus no longer went about openly among the Jews, but left the district for a town called Ephraim, in the country bordering on the desert, and stayed there with his disciples.
The Jewish Passover drew near, and many of the country people who had gone up to Jerusalem to purify themselves looked out for Jesus, saying to one another as they stood about in the Temple, 'What do you think? Will he come to the festival or not?'
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