“A large number of people followed Jesus, among them many women who were mourning and lamenting over him. But he turned to them and said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me. Weep rather for yourselves and for your children.” (Luke 23:27-31)
V. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you:
R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
The sufferings of Christ so touched the hearts of the women of Jerusalem that they shed bitter tears for this condemned man. Yet Christ asked them not to mourn for him, but for themselves and the sad future that lay ahead for their families. Within forty years, the city would be besieged and destroyed by the Romans. Many thousands died or became slaves.
Despite being in great pain, Christ was more concerned with the sufferings of his people than with his own. As Christians, we are called to follow in his footsteps with this. As Scripture says: “Do not turn your back on those who weep, but mourn with those who mourn.” (Sirach 7:34)
The episode was part of Christ’s overall mission to “comfort all who mourn” (Isaiah 61:2). This also included having compassion on the crowds and healing the sick (Matthew 14:14). We also see it in the way he consoled a widow by raising her son from the dead and his tears over the city of Jerusalem (Luke 7:13; 19:41).
O Jesus, you are close to the brokenhearted – I place my trust in you. Whenever I am anxious and worried, comfort me and make me glad. (Psalm 94:19) Give me the grace to comfort the sorrowful, as you did, even when I am suffering myself.
Sign from the Old Testament
In Jeremiah’s time, the prophet told the women of Jerusalem to mourn and lament over the ruin of their city. (Jeremiah 9:17-21)
See the full image:
Unknown artist / Eighth Station of the Cross / Cast metal / c. 2001 / Holy Family and St Michael, Kesgrave