9. Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem
Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Quiet moment of asking: “Spirit of God, continue to hold me in this place and time of prayer, supporting me as I contemplate these events in the Passion of Jesus. I desire to be aware of this moment when Jesus encountered the mourning women. Give me the grace to know how he felt compassion for them even as they wept for him”.
We listen to the words of the Gospel of Luke, which is the gospel of women. We can see and hear the loud laments they make for him then we also hear how He consoles them. Help us to hear what he says to them as also addressed to us at this moment.
Large numbers of people followed him, and women too, who mourned and lamented for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children. For look, the days are surely coming when people will say, ‘Blessed are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne children, the breasts that have never suckled!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains,“Fall on us!’; to the hills ‘Cover us!’ For if this is what is done to the green wood, what will be done when the wood is dry?”
Luke 23: 27-31
NOTICE – A silent contemplation moment
Staying in the mood of contemplation and prayer, we hear the deep grief of these women who can by now see very clearly what is about to be done to Jesus. They saw this more clearly than most of the men present. Many, maybe all of them were women whom he had encountered in his ministry; many would have been among his followers. His attitude was always inclusive, welcoming and open to all. One of those women may well have been Mary, his mother. How did he address them? What stirs in my own heart as I hear him speak these words, the only time he speaks in the entire Way of the Cross?
Good and gracious God, sometimes we cannot bear to see someone else’s pain and we get very upset. You understand that, Lord, as you were upset when you met these women. But you drew on the last of your strength to teach them to be there for each other and for everybody, just as you were. Help us to pull through when we feel that there is nothing that we can do and no-one to turn to. Teach us to be sensitive to the needs of others. Help us to learn from your Way of the Cross. Lord, we sometimes collapse under the strain when we feel that it is all too much for us. But you understand this and you teach us that this is not what you want from us. Help us never to be discouraged and help us never to despair or to think that it is all too much.
When we get frustrated and not being able to do things, we remember that you felt like that too. The women among us know very well what it is like to be degraded and mistreated, not least in your church but also in many societal situations. We can so easily disappoint ourselves when we harm others with our human weakness. Sometimes the task of living well feels too much a burden, sometimes our temptations will seem too much. But your example helps us to struggle on, for you fill our hearts with hope, if we let you.
Together we pray; Lord, we want to walk beside you in your suffering. Forgive us; and help us to see you in the suffering of the poor.