The Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time under the weight of His cross
by Jean Fallon
We see Jesus falling beneath the cross the second time. Despite the
help of Simon of Cyrene, the cross has crushed Him once more, and Roman
soldiers have beaten him down. Let us see Jesus in the Beqaâ€™a Valley,
outside of Hebron, now.
The Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
by Mary Wendeln
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, for indeed, the days are coming when people will say,
â€˜Blessed are the barren, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that
never nursed.' At that time, people will say to the mountains, â€˜Fall
upon us!' and to the hills, â€˜Cover us!' for if these things are done
when the wood is green what will happen when it is dry?" Luke 23: 27-31
The Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene forced to take up cross
We know from the accounts in the gospels of Luke and Mark that Simon
did not step forward to take the cross; he was a bystander. Different
Bible translations tell us that the soldiers of the occupying Roman
army "grabbed," "seized," "laid hold upon" him, then forced him to
carry the cross.
The Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus
Let us try to imagine Veronica as she steps out from the jeering,
mocking crowd. Was she afraid as she walked past the armed soldiers? It
was not appropriate for her, as a woman, to touch a man, but Veronica
refused to abide by social constraints. She saw the suffering, bleeding
Christ, and stepped forward out of compassion.
Hebron CPTers offer our deepest sympathy to our Israeli friends and
wish to express our deep sorrow for the violent deaths of the 8
students and those injured from the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
Words simply are insufficient at a time like this, but all we have to
offer you are our condolences â€” foremost for the loss of precious lives
but also for what this kind of violence does to us all. Innocent
victims continue to bear the brunt of this cycle of violence.
Israeli military policy became clear to me out in the mountains south of
Hebron as I was accompanying shepherds grazing their sheep on their own
land. Israeli settlers have been threatening the shepherds and demanding
that Israeli soldiers remove the shepherds from the area around the
settlements. Sometimes the settlers have been carrying clubs. On 12
January, settlers fired six shots to frighten the shepherds.
Let us recall Jesus meeting His mother as He carries His cross. She was unable to stand by quietly and see her innocent son accused, condemned and on His way to execution. Not only did she reach out to her son beneath His cross, she must have spoken out to the soldiers and tried to tell them of His innocence. Let us continue with the meditation and think of Jesus in contemporary Palestine.
As our Palestinian neighbors react with horror at television images
of dead babies in rubble in Gaza, and the Israeli army vows to continue
the onslaught there, Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) in Hebron notes
the dangerous escalation here as well. Clashes to protest the Gaza
killings have erupted and soldiers have shot young men and boys
throwing stones at them. Sunday afternoon in Hebron, the Israeli army
shot and killed a twelve-year old Palestinian boy with a fragmenting
bullet through his chest. Last week, Israeli Special Forces invaded a
Beit Ummar home and later the same night invaded Hebron and confiscated
properties of Islamic charities. On Saturday in Beit Ummar, an Israeli
settler from Karme Tzur settlement fired toward unarmed Palestinians
trying to prune trees on their land.
Most people in Hebron have TVs. The last few days the images on the
screen have been unbearable. At one home, I saw a mother try to
distract her eight-year old son from the television, but she was too
late. He had already seen the carnage after an Israeli airstrike in
Gaza landed on boys playing soccer. Mothers watching the screen sobbed
uncontrollably as they saw Israeli bombs slaughtering babies, one only
two days old. Gaza is in every home in the West Bank, on the faces of
people in the market, and in the children throwing stones at the