Published April 9, 2009
Reflections by students at St. John the Evangelist School, Hapeville
Jesus Is Condemned To Death
I can see Jesus standing before the crowd. I see him being mocked and questioned. Why am I not up there instead? Those are my sins he died for. I feel guilty that I could not have had enough courage to stand up there with him.
But now I know there is something I can do. I can stand up for all that I believe in because of him. I can protest against things that are wrong, like when my class went on the pro-life walk at the state Capitol. This is a peaceful yet assertive way to fight unjust laws just like Jesus did.
I can show my love for Jesus by continuing his work. I can give to Operation Rice Bowl to feed children who live in poverty. I can pray for others and listen to how God wants me to help him and put that into action. I realize that although Jesus was condemned to death, he is free and lives through each work I do in his name.
Jelani Johnson, eighth grade
Jesus Takes His Cross
I have been moved and taken to a man. I sit upon the man’s shoulder. He has the softest and holiest hands. As he drags me, he stumbles under the weight. All of the crowd’s sins are on me. As I get heavier with sins, I hurt him more. It hurts me to see him like this, but not as much as it hurts him.
Dear Jesus, I don’t want to be a burden to you, but I am. The sins that I commit always go on your cross. They get heavier and hurt you, and they cause you to fall. But you are the resurrection and the life. You are now free of the cross. We believe you are the Son of God. With your help, we will have the faith to be like you.
Olivia Wells, fifth grade
Pilate … said to them …, “Then what do you want me to do with the man you call the king of the Jews?” They shouted again, “Crucify him.”… So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified. Mk 15:12-15
Jesus Falls The First Time
I think of the burdens we carry upon our backs. Some are minor like the papers we have to turn in and others are more serious like family illnesses. We are always worrying about what is to come in the future, never focusing on what is happening now, in the present. Jesus carried the biggest burden of all because it was made of all our sins. When Jesus fell for the first time, he never gave up, even though the result was that he was going to die.
Every time I feel like something is holding me back or bringing me down, this station reminds me of what Jesus went through for my sins. With Jesus, I know that I can find a way to solve the obstacles in my life that keep me from moving forward. If Jesus can go through all that pain and sorrow for me, then the least I can do is give everything my best effort.
This station is an inspiration to me. This station exemplifies courage, endurance, desire and love.
Nadia Ponder, eighth grade
Jesus Meets His Mother
Mary must have been heart-wrenched to see her child suffer so severely and not be able to help. It must have been like a dagger of sorrow going through her heart. The person who raised Jesus and comforted him is now the one who needs comfort. All she could do was watch Jesus walk forward with that massive, painful cross. The love that both of them shared gave each of them the strength to endure this misfortune that saved us from our sins.
This station makes me realize how much my mother loves me. She lovingly tends to my needs and cares about what happens to me. Just to think about seeing her in pain is horrible.
Lord, help me to appreciate my mother and all the people in my life who love me, support me, and want the best for me.
Hannah Lumapas, seventh grade
Reflections by Life Teen members, St. Francis of Assisi Church, Blairsville.
They pressed into service a passer-by, Simon, a Cyrenian, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. Mk 15:21
Simon Helps Jesus to Carry His Cross
Simon of Cyrene may have been a man on his way home from work when he came upon the sad procession of those condemned. For him, perhaps, it was a common sight. But as Jesus made his way in agony carrying his cross, the Roman soldiers saw him weakening with each step. They feared that Jesus would die on the way. So they stopped Simon and compelled him to help Jesus carry his cross.
Simon hesitated at first. But suddenly walking beside Jesus and sharing the burden of the cross, Simon came to see that it was a grace to be able to accompany him to his crucifixion and to help him.
For what marks a true disciple of Christ is to love God and neighbor. So whenever we show kindness to the suffering, the persecuted and defenseless, and share in their sufferings, we help to carry that same cross of Jesus. In this way we obtain salvation, and help contribute to the salvation of the world.
Luis Mancillas, Young Harris College
Veronica Wipes The Face of Jesus
Blood and grime now clouds Jesus’ vision as he continues his journey. Slowly, he makes his way through a crowd that hurls insults and cries of mockery in his face. Bruised and battered, with his cross, our transgressions weighing on his back, he sees a woman step out from the throng. She holds a veil in her hands. As Jesus nears her, she offers it to him.
How brave is this woman! Though the guards’ weapons are deadly and the mob’s temper is high, compassion overtakes her. She cleans Jesus’ face the best she can. His ever-loving eyes are clear again, and now his journey to death for our everlasting life continues.
Let us wipe the sin away from our hearts with a veil like Veronica’s—a veil bearing the imprint of Jesus. Let us ease his suffering by redeeming ourselves through him.
Nora Sutton, high school sophomore
Jesus Falls A Second Time
Jesus falls a second time. These words are branded into our minds like tongues of blazing fire. Jesus stumbled on his journey of sorrow, unable to bear the horrific pain any longer. Yet he picked himself up, even though in his infinite wisdom, he was well aware that his sufferings were far from over.
Why did he do this? What drove our God to bear such gruesome pain at the hands of his creations? Because he, and only he, could give us something that no one else could. By humbling himself and keeping on his steady journey, he gave us a chance at a life without pain, an eternal life in heaven. And all we have to do is take his hand, and let him pick us up when we fall, so that we may be with him for all eternity.
Joseph Murphy, high school sophomore
Jesus Speaks To The Women of Jerusalem
“Do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and your children. Weep for your sins and those of your children; for they are the cause of my suffering.”
Jesus’ words do not apply only to the women of Jerusalem who watched him carry his cross, but they also pertain to our lives as Catholics. Even through his immense suffering, Jesus stops to comfort the sorrowful women. This action shows the compassionate nature of the Lord.
In fact, Jesus’ teachings continue as these women learn to repent for their sins. The Passion of Jesus Christ allowed us sinners to be forgiven of our sins. We must “weep”—repent—for our imperfections, and God will “forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing” (1 John 1:9).
Emma Krier, high school senior
A large crowd of people followed Jesus, including many women who mourned and lamented him. Jesus turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep instead for yourselves and for your children … ” Lk 23:27-28
Reflections by students at Southern Catholic College, Dawsonville.
Jesus Falls The Third Time
The journey of Our Lord is long and difficult. As he forces himself to walk under the immense weight of the cross, he only becomes weaker. For the third time his legs give way and he falls with his face on the ground. He knows the road of Calvary is almost finished, but the long journey toward his death is just beginning. Bruised, mocked and still struggling, Jesus is courageous and pulls himself up because he knows he must finish the journey.
Even though every step is filled with more pain and suffering than the last, the only thing which keeps Jesus moving is his pure and unconditional love for us. The tortures and struggles he freely accepted were for our salvation. Ultimately, his sacrifice and suffering lead him to bring forth our freedom, which finally gave him joy, peace and happiness.
Lord Jesus, so many times in my life I have given up and fallen under the weight of my cross. When the path grows difficult, painful and tedious, I feel like I have no other choice. You have given me a wonderful example to live by. Even though there will be times when it is unbearable and it may seem as if there is nothing left I can do, I know now that you never give us suffering without joy following it.
Help me to accept the sufferings which my cross may entail so I may show you how much I love you in return. Please allow me to be strengthened just as you were, to be courageous toward the people who mock me, and to keep moving until the journey is complete.
Katie Nuzzo from New York is a junior.
Jesus Is Stripped Of His Garments
It has come, the final moment Christ is humiliated before he is crucified. His dignity is stripped and torn as the soldiers tear his garments and expose him in great humiliation. It is at his weakest moment, after a long walk in suffering and falling for the third time. He is no longer the physically strong Christ who was condemned to death. He is now weak, thirsty, sweaty, trembling, alone, bleeding and hurting. Unable to continue or even stand, the soldiers find amusement in his pain and broken dignity.
Realizing this leads one to remember, “there is nothing I have suffered that Christ has not.” God knows and understands our pain. He knows what it is like to feel hurt and alone—to be hurt by the very people one loves. Christ sees our hearts and our lives and knows our intentions and our troubles. Christ is ever more present in the moments we think we are alone. But he doesn’t want us to suffer alone and asks that we offer our sufferings to him.
Lily De Leon from Miami is a sophomore.
Jesus Is Nailed To The Cross
Jesus arrives at the place of execution with his murderers following him at close range. Upon reaching the top of that wretched place, our Lord is pushed to the ground though he offers no resistance. His executioners stretch his limbs over the splintering wood and begin to drive the hideous nails into his precious skin.
In this station, one can see the summit of God’s love for us. Even though we have sinned against him so many times, he still gives us his only Son as a sacrifice to save us. This is one of the greatest mysteries of our faith because it shows us Christ’s infinite mercy and love for us. He loves us enough to be nailed to a cross. One must reflect on the pain that Christ experienced. He took on the sins of all mankind and made salvation available for all.
Kyle Cochran from Spartanburg, S.C., and Hamilton Tarpley from Norcross are freshmen.
Then they crucified him and divided his garments
by casting lots for them to see what each should take.
It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him.
The inscription of the charge against him read,
“The King of the Jews.”
With him they crucified two revolutionaries,
one on his right and one on his left.
Those passing by reviled him,
shaking their heads and saying,
“Aha! You who would destroy the temple
and rebuild it in three days,
save yourself by coming down from the cross.”
Likewise the chief priests, with the scribes,
mocked him among themselves and said,
“He saved others; he cannot save himself.
Let the Christ, the King of Israel,
come down now from the cross
that we may see and believe.”
Those who were crucified with him also kept abusing him.
At noon darkness came over the whole land
until three in the afternoon.
And at three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice,
“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?”
which is translated,
“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Jesus Dies On The Cross
Jesus speaks to his mother and his disciple. Love and sacrifice meet in his body and blood. He is preparing to give all of humanity the ultimate sacrifice that will deliver them from the oppression of sin. Prior to commending his spirit into his Father’s hands, he commends his mother to his beloved disciple and he takes her into his house. Just as he is about to draw his last breath, he does this as a final proof of his infinite love.
Today, one can see how Jesus Christ still invites us to not only take him into our house and the temple of our body and heart, but he also asks us out of deep love and respect of his Blessed Mother to take her into our hearts and souls as well. All of humanity is represented in John, Christ’s beloved disciple, and the entire Mother Church is represented in the celestial body of Mary, who remained silent while her heart was being pierced by a sword.
Christ still loves his disciple, and he honors and venerates his Blessed Mother because she remained humble, silent and pure from sin throughout her life. Jesus not only speaks to his disciple and his mother, he speaks to all of humanity as well, when he is present in the blessed sacrifice of the altar at every Mass and every time one invites Mary into one’s own heart.
Miriam Torres from Atlanta is a freshman at Southern Catholic College, Dawsonville.
Reflections by archdiocesan seminarians.
Jesus Is Taken Down From The Cross
The quaking ground has settled, the earth split under the cross, the temple veil in tatters. Around the broken body of our Lord the anguished world has silenced its terrifying scream in exhausted horror. It is finished. Muted shrieks, mortified amazement, a defeated centurion choking on sobs and a bloody spear in his hand. Around the cross innocence is discovered, weeping at its own mutilation.
And behold, the tender Mother, cradling her son, offering him again to the Father, cleaving him to her breast, clutching her own flesh now bearing the ignominious marks of utter desolation. She weeps as she recalls those words from so many years ago, and she feels the sword piercing her heart. To the blood of her beloved son she adds her own wounded heart, desiring to die with him, to once more unite their love.
His body is tended to carefully but hastily—for there is room in the inn at last, a new tomb. Mary holds his body, a lifetime of memories flooding her anguished soul—the star in Bethlehem, the Magi, water made into wine, the joyful Passovers of a beautiful youth, a family intact, Jesus—her little boy—laughing and crying. Through the misty agony, she glares at her stained hands, kisses her son, and harrowingly reasserts her choice: “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum!” (Let it be done to me according to your word). Mary the Mother collapses, pierced with sorrow.
Josh Allen is an archdiocesan seminarian studying at Pontifical North American College, Rome, Italy.
Jesus Is Laid In The Tomb
When the Savior shut his eyes in death, he was laid in a donated tomb, hewn from rock (Mathew 27:60). No fanfare or grand public memorial accompanied his burial. Rather, he was despised and rejected (Isaiah 53:3). Simply put, Christ was buried a heretic—a criminal at best—and the mourners were but a few.
But the stone rejected by the builders is our cornerstone (Psalm 188:22). As our Lord’s body was laid in that lowly tomb, he was already defeating death, hell and the grave. He did this for our sake. Who knew what was really going on? Indeed, during his crucifixion, Christ lamented, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Christ Jesus embodied in himself the salvation of women and men everywhere but was reviled every step of the way—tempted like us but was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). What claim, then, have we to assume that we merit honor because we attempt to do what is right? Christ did it all, yet the King of glory did not receive any human honors in his death.
God came into the world to be with us—he suffered, died, and was buried. Like David, we are prone to ask, “What are humans that you are mindful of them, mere mortals that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:5). We are called then to perpetually adore our Lord by the way we live, expecting to receive the same treatment he endured. If we would be more like Jesus in these things, our reward will not be found in this dying world, but in heaven (Matthew 5:12).
Desmond Drummer is an archdiocesan seminarian studying at Mundelein Seminary in Illinois.
Stations I-IV were photographed at St. Mark Church, Clarkesville. The stations are the work of artist Nancy Haizlett.
Stations V-VIII were photographed at St. Gabriel Church, Fayetteville. The 60-year-old Italian mosaic stations came from King Richard’s Religious Artifacts, Alpharetta.
Stations IX-XII were photographed at Our Lady of the Mountains Church, Jasper. The stations were made with narra wood by third-generation woodcarver Teddy Calma in Pampanga, a province of the Philippines.
Stations XIII and XIV were photographed at Church of the Good Shepherd, Cumming.