Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Eighth Station--Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

(From the Stations of the Cross by David O'Connell)

Eighth Station: Jesus Meets the Women of Jerusalem

Leader: O holy Christ, we worship you, we adore you;
People: You comforted the women of Jerusalem who wept for you.

As Jesus continued on his path, some women of Jerusalem approached him, tears streaming down their faces. This man treated women differently than most men. To so many men in Jerusalem, they were invisible. They entered and left the temple almost unnoticed. They were often ignored by the priests. They were not allowed to carry the Torah, nor were they encouraged to learn to read it. Their husbands were allowed to divorce them for some of the most minor of transgressions, yet they were not allowed to initiate divorce, even if cruelty was involved. Many women had fewer rights than slaves. So these women often lived in fear--fear of abandonment, fear of rejection, fear of harsh treatment.

But this man Jesus was different. He spoke to women, Hebrew and Gentile alike, with true kindness. He was unafraid to touch them to heal them, even if they were unclean. They had heard of his power in healing the woman who hemorrhaged. To see him abused so severely broke their hearts. As they cried out to him in both sadness and gratitude, he tried to comfort them. "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me," he said. "Weep for yourselves and your children." Would this world ever see another man like him?

Leader: The wailing of these women echoed through the street;
People: While Jesus silently prayed that their lives would change for the better.

Leader: Let us pray.
(a brief period of silence is observed.)

Almighty Creator,
Your Son's life empowered the women of Jerusalem.
We ask that women today are likewise empowered.
Open our eyes to see the plight of the widow,
the divorcee, the abused wife or girlfriend, and the single mother.
Grant them equal footing in the world's economy
and equity in matters of law.
Expand our powers of understanding
to aid in the empowerment of women
in countries where laws allow them to be beaten, mutilated, and killed
in the name of so-called "honor."
Make us unafraid to weep for them and their children.

People: Amen.

Holy God,
Holy and Mighty,
Holy immortal one,
Have mercy on us.

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