VIII

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    The Stations of the Cross in Jerusalem - Reflection
    The 8th Station: HERE Jesus meets the Women of Jerusalem

    The number of people following the procession has increased. The women kept coming and Jesus could hear them sobbing, crying and even wailing for him.

    He was familiar with these scenes. They were common when disaster struck or a beloved one died. He had heard the wailing during the years he spent in Nazareth. He heard it again when he went to the house of Jairus in Cafarnaum (Mk 5,38-40) or to Bethany when Lazarus died.

    The shrill pitch of the wailing made him stop. Jesus turned and said to them, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children" (Lk 23,27).

    They were stunned by his words. They could not reply. They did not understand what he was saying.

    And he continued "For the time will come when you will say, 'Blessed are the barren women, the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!' Then "they will say to the mountains, "Fall on us!" and to the hills, 'Cover us!' For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?" (Lk 23,29-31). They were taken aback.

    But Jesus, even in this terrible moment, is not thinking only of himself, of his suffering, of his drama. He is concerned with the drama of humanity, of all human beings. He propheticaly saw another human drama opening in front of his eyes. And these wailing women had to change their lives.

    How many times had he repeated this while preaching in the land of Galilee or Judea? How many times he shouted over wind and tempest, over desert and plains: "The time has come. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!" (Mk 1,15).

    He was again telling them, and through them those who were following him with a smile on their face: "the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit" (Mt 21,43) because "the sound of wailing is heard from Zion: 'How ruined we are! How great is our shame! We must leave our land because our houses are in ruins"(Jer 9,19).

    A Prayer

    Dear Jesus, you asked for our repentance, for our change of heart. Yes Lord, I cannot but sing aloud the words of the Psalm of David: "To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul; in you I trust, O my God. Do not let me be put to shame, nor let my enemies triumph over me. No one whose hope is in you will ever be put to shame, but they will be put to shame who are treacherous without excuse. Show me your ways, O Lord, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, O Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old. Remember not the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways; according to your love remember me, for you are good, O Lord" (Ps 25,1-7).

    The Site


    A carved cross marks the spot of the Eighth Station

    After the suk of Khan es-Zeit, Via Dolorosa proceed upwards for about 20 metres. A stone embedded in the wall of the Greek Monastery of Saint Haralambos has a Latin cross and the Greek words "Jesus-Christ conquers".
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    Another view of the engraving marking the spot of the Eighth Station

    The site of the Eighth Station has been recorded at this spot since the middle of the 19th century when the Franciscans moved the commemoration site to beyond the "Judgement Gate".
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    The Franciscans during the weekly Way of the Cross stop at the Eighth Station

    One of the stops of the Way of the Cross is at this spot facing the bare stone with the engraving on it. Here too, the pilgrims stop to reflect on the Passion of the Lord!
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    Reflections and Prayers by John Abela ofm
    Descriptive text by John Abela, ofm and Michael Olteanu based on research by Albert Storm (SBF - Jerusalem)
    Hi-Res pictures prepared by Michael Olteanu
    Display pictures prepared by John Abela ofm

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