Outdoor Stations of the Cross

Last night we had our outdoor Stations of the Cross. At least a hundred people came and spent two hours together. It was one of the most meaningful Stations of the Cross that I had made with the community. Usually I find it difficult to focus as we will simply go through the hymns and read the reflection from the book. Last night was entirely different. Two priests, a deacon, a religious sister and three lay persons shared their personal reflections. I was given the fourth and the eighth Stations to reflect on. . . Here they are:

4th Station: Jesus meets his Mother

Mothers. All of us have one. Our mothers carried us for many months, allowing us to take our nourishment from her, and in the pangs of child birth, they bring us into this earthly life. We remember for a moment our mothers by name, and we thank God for them.

I recall very vividly, 20 years ago, of the last 6 months of my mother’s life on earth. The sudden and unexpected news of her terminal illness shattered my world. How can this be? But it was so, and I prayed like I had never prayed before. I even attended daily mass and often shared with Fr Foission about my home situation. I had only one prayer to our Lord Jesus: Save her soul and then take her Home if you wish.

To make this story short, my mother received 4 sessions of catechesis and got baptised on 8 January. I was baptised on Easter Vigil night soon after on 10 April. Those were special moments of grace. A few days later, on 16 April, my mother was summoned home to receive her eternal reward.

Here in this 4th station, let us gaze with the deepest affection upon our heavenly virgin Mother of God, the model disciple, the one who said ‘yes’ to doing the will of God. Jesus meets his Mother. How did he look at her? Tenderly, with the deepest affection. A silent understanding, with no need for words. Both Son and Mother sought only to love and to do the will of God who so loved the world that he sent us Jesus, so that all who believe in him will not perish but have eternal life.

Yes, what must have been the pain in your heart, O Mother of Sorrows? What makes your Son go on step after step towards Cavalry if not for love of us, poor sinners? Be with each of us daily, that we may find ourselves also persevering to the end, without faltering. Daily we pray to you…Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, let us persevere even amidst the sufferings we have and let us never despair. Our Lord Jesus and our Mother journey with us…In heaven there are no tears, no sorrow, no pain and no suffering. Till then, let us keep nurturing the gift of our faith and persevere to the end. In this Year of Faith, we beg for the grace to seek God’s will and to find God in all things. We take a few moments of silence to speak to Jesus our Saviour and to Mary our Mother.

8th station: Jesus consoles the women of Jerusalem

I recall my very early days as a Catholic convert years ago, and the Sacrament of Reconciliation was very new to me. A parishioner here told me very seriously that it was a sin for me to jay walk. To cross the road even if the road was clear was also sinful. So I went for my confession. 

The old priest, dear Fr Loiseau, smiled and very gently explained to me about what were sins I had to confess and what would be more commonsensical. To cross a road when there were no cars was fine. I have had much to learn. I am still learning.

In this 8th station, Jesus tells the women of Jerusalem to cry for themselves and for their children. Yes, Jesus is the sinless one. We are the ones in need of forgiveness and healing.  How often have I stood in the queue at Novena Church and wondered if people were looking at me, a sinner?  I realized, of course, that the devil was putting thoughts into my head.

Why be ashamed of being seen to go for Confession? All saints are sinners turned good, and if one was not a saint, how could one go to heaven? It took me time to learn that it is God’s mercy and grace that draws me to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

So I learn to cry for my own sins. But, brothers and sisters, if we just cry and do nothing about our sins, it is not very helpful. We all acknowledge Jesus to be our Saviour. This is a fact. Do we know it in our heart and in our mind? Do we accept it? Do we believe that our sins, no matter how serious, can be forgiven, and that the Blood of Christ can make us clean? If we do, can we forgive ourselves for the sins we have committed?  Yes, these are questions we can ask ourselves.  Christ died for each of us even when we were sinners.

Let us pray for one another. As member s of the Body of Christ, we all need to be in good spiritual health. After all, though we are many, we are one body. When was our last good confession? Let us reflect for a moment and ask for the grace to make a good Confession in preparation for Easter.