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.