Jesus carries His Cross
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4th Sorrowful Mystery of the Rosary ¤
Reading from Scripture: Luke 23; v16-32
But as one man they howled, "Away with him! Give us Barabbas!" (This man had been thrown into prison for causing a riot in the city and for murder.)
Pilate was anxious to set Jesus free and addressed them again, but they shouted back, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" And for the third time he spoke to them, "Why? What harm has this man done? I have found no case against him that deserves death, so I shall have him punished and then let him go." But they kept on shouting at the top of their voices, demanding that he should be crucified. And their shouts were growing louder.
Pilate then gave his verdict: their demand was to be granted. He released the man they asked for, who had been imprisoned for rioting and murder, and handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they pleased.
As they were leading him away they seized on a man, Simon from Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and made him shoulder the cross and carry it behind Jesus. Large numbers of people followed him, and of women too, who mourned and lamented for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; rather weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days will surely come when people will say, "Happy are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne, 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 men use the green wood like this, what will happen when it is dry?" Now with him they were also leading out two other criminals to be executed.
Meditation: Jesus has now been ranked among thieves. Tortured and abused, weighed down by his cross and flanked by two criminals, he walks towards the place of the skull, Golgotha. Whilst we so often shun our responsibilities and refuse to suffer the consequences of our actions, Jesus goes on to the bitter end. He who gave Himself to His Father saying "Here I am, I come to do Your Will", now receives the cross and lovingly embraces it.
On his way to Calvary he meets Mary His Mother. She wishes to plead with us: Can you not help my Son to carry His Cross, which is so heavy, by accepting your own, which is so small? Do you not want to remember his words "If any man wants to come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me"? And if sometimes it seems too heavy then believe with all your strength that another Simon of Cyrene will come to help you carry it.
Eternal Father, by the merits of all that your Son suffered in carrying his cross, may we daily carry our cross with his love and his humility.
Jesus, I choose to deny myself in order to help you, like Simon of Cyrene, carry your cross.
Mary, my Mother, may I always decide for God and for the Church, through the merits of your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart.
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