“It is good for a man to bear the yoke from his youth. Let that man sit alone and in silence when the yoke is laid upon him. Let him bury his head in the dust; there may still be hope. Let him offer his cheek to those who strike him and endure their insults.” (Lamentations 3:27-30)
V. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you:
R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
In this scene, we see Christ slowly setting out through the streets of Jerusalem, amid the taunts and attacks of those who were following along. Following his earlier ordeals, Christ would have been left wounded, weak and covered in blood. His head had been pierced by the crown of thorns, his face had been beaten with fists and his back had been lacerated by scourges.
The third station pictures Christ losing his strength and falling to the ground under the heavy weight of the cross. Notice how Christ is being mercilessly punched, dragged and kicked by his tormentors. This persecution is reflected in the words of the book of Lamentations, which speak of accepting the suffering that is inflicted on us by others.
Christ warned us that we too would face persecution, saying: “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you and utter all kinds of calumnies against you for my sake. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.” Yet he also told us: “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:11-12, 44)
By this first fall, O Jesus, help me to be calm when I face opposition to being your disciple. Give me the generosity of heart to love and pray for those who cause me harm. When I am filled with pain and suffering, may your saving power, O God, raise me up. (Psalm 69:30)
Sign from the Old Testament
The Prophet Isaiah spoke of a Suffering Servant, who would suffer and die for the sins of us all (Isaiah 52:13-53:12).
See the full image:
Albrecht de Vriendt / Third Station of the Cross / Painted relief / 1875 / St Chad’s Cathedral, Birmingham