Saturday, March 14, 2015

Station 4 - Jesus Meets His Mother

photo by jimforest / flickr
"Is it nothing to you all who pass by?
Look, see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow."
                    Lamentations 1.12 

We move on, we pilgrims. So we come to this Fourth Station on the winding, twisting way that will lead to the Cross. Looking up we can’t help but be touched. The bloody, pain-filled Jesus—picks up his splintered cross and staggers toward Calvary. And in the crowd that lined the roads he picks out a face. His Mother. This must have been the hardest day of her hard life. All along she knew it would come to this. That scary time at the beginning when King Herod had vowed to kill all the baby boys and she and Joseph fled that cold night to save their child. Was this a prelude of what was to come? When we do not know what went on in that little house of Joseph and Mary and Jesus and his brothers during those silent years. When he was twelve she knew he was different when they found him in the Temple talking like an adult. His father’s business? Surely she must have whispered to Jehovah night after night, “Keep him safe.”

One day he left them—and how she missed him. Hardly a day went by that she did not wish he had stayed home and worked with Joseph in the shop. But that was not to be. And before long she would hear in the village that he had his enemies. Important people saying terrible things about her son. And when things got so bad she sent his boys to bring him home. He wouldn’t come.

photo by / flickr
And so it has come to this. Standing before Pilate. Beaten like a criminal. Tortured, God how he was tortured. And then this journey that will lead—she could not even put her mind around the word. But she was there—standing at the edge of the crowd.

Staggering along—her saw her. His mother. How can you cram a lifetime of memories into a moment? Jesus must have done that. And so did Mary.

What does it mean this Fourth station? Jesus meets his mother along the road. This faith business always is a relational word. A human word. A compassionate word.

Sceptics sneer. Bleeding hearts. Unpractical dreamers. All this helping just does not compute—or change anything. And so we are left with the Michael Browns and the Fergusons and the terrible memories of Sandy Hook. The list is endless. Injustice everywhere.  Unmarried mothers who don’t know how they will make it. Children whose lunch boxes they cannot fill for there is so little food. Those sad gaunt faces of mothers in Africa and Haiti and Iran so have so little. Those frightened undocumented mothers who do not know what the future will hold for them and theirs.

And so the Church points to this mother and child reunion. Attention must be paid. This Fourth Station is a
photo by Robert Croma / flickr
stopping off place. We cannot just pass by like all those good folk in the Samaritan story. Looking up at this scene: we know that Jesus never turned away. Doesn’t it mean that we also must stop and look and listen and then respond.

Biographers write that when Theodore Roosevelt was Police Commissioner in New York he picked up a book of photographs by Jacob Riis. The book showed picture after picture of people in the tenements. Immigrants. Terrible places where ten people lived in one room. Flats where rats ran freely. Places no human should live. The photographer called his book, How the Other Half Lives. Roosevelt was so moved that he decided to pay Mr. Riis a visit. He knocked on the man’s door. No answer. So Mr. Roosevelt took one of his calling cards and wrote: “Dear Mr. Riis, I have read your book and I have come to help.” He placed the card in the door and left.

Before we move on, look closely at this Station. Look through the eyes of Jesus. He reaches out to all the mothers from then until now. It doesn’t matter what we say or do—we believers—it comes down to this. We see like Jesus. And we must come to help.  

Photo by Eric.Parker of Good Friday Procession
in Little Italy, Toronto 2014/ flickr

--Roger Lovette /


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