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The Stations of the Cross takes us back to the fourteen episodes of our Lord’s passion from his trial, arrest and condemnation at the palace initiated by fellow religious people, to carrying the cross all the way to Golgotha- the place of crucifixion and his burial in the tomb. This popular Lenten devotion hopefully will bring and draw us closer to the last events of Jesus’ redemptive life. This ancient, and well-known devotional practice emerged out of the pilgrims’ desire (Egeria’s diary in the fourth century) to keep alive the incredible story of our faith in our local parish community. Our version of the Stations of the Cross is not even close to the original event. What I do as I lead this devotion is nothing compared to the first Good Friday, the once and for all sacrifice on the cross. No one can duplicate the Passion of the Lord nor claim to be too prepared for the live stations of the cross. While we reenact this sorrowful and yet extraordinary moving experience in our parish church as our version of Via Dolorosa, we will have a glimpse and be touched by the magnitude of the event. I am ashamed of the comfort felt inside the air-conditioned church, a roof above my head, the help provided by the volunteers setting up the musical equipment, the audio/visual, the environment, to name a few. 

Stations of the cross is not a devotion that we have to go through on Good Friday. It is not something that we have to get done. We are making present a sacred event. We especially dedicate this time for those who suffered oppression, those under oppressive rule and victims of acts of violence. The horrors of Good Friday is too much to bear for humanity. We offer this devotion to those who have lost loved ones, to those who have experienced job loss in these trying times, to small businesses that have temporarily closed, to the courage and bravery shown by the front liners risking their lives for others. We offer this to those of us who have been immune and have become insensitive to violence. We lament over the death of innocent people and the more than 30,000 who have died of Coronavirus. We show compassion to victims of oppression and injustice. We stand in solidarity with the suffering humanity especially during this pandemic.

Today, while most of us are staying indoors, working at home, studying offsite, I am pleased to present and lead the virtual community in a solemn and prayerful commemoration of the Fourteen Stations of the Cross that originally took place on a hot and dusty Friday afternoon. 

In this presentation, we want to focus not so much on the beatings and whipping but on the unsuspected betrayal of a close friend and ally Judas who turned the normal kiss of respect into an act of treachery all for thirty pieces of silver, the unexpected denial of a trusted leader Peter who promised his master to follow him to the point of martyrdom, the eventual desertion and abandonment of His disciples due to fear and uncertainty, the outright rejection of fellow religious people and the mocking by the soldiers. In spite of everything that he’d been through His sorrowful Mother Mary, his distraught Mother was there every step of the way. A complete stranger, Simon of Cyrene, lightened Jesus’ burden by sharing the Cross, Veronica, a woman who happened to be there, wiped His face and the women of Jerusalem’s deep sympathy touched Him.

We begin each station with this prayer: We adore You, O Christ, and we bless You. Please respond, Because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the whole world.