The Stations of the Cross
Today, we see the face of the suffering Christ in the experience of every person who suffers from poverty or cries out for help. The set of Stations presented here centers on the experiences of the suffering poor. We are reminded that Christ lives among us still, sharing the pain of our destitute brothers and sisters.
Below are photos reflecting Jesus’s experiences, The Stations of the Cross. Click the numbers to see that Station.
Station 1: Jesus is Condemned to Death: Christ is condemned to death as he lies alone in the crib, with no one to aid him. Born poor and in fragile health, he needs an operation to cure a simple heart defect. The hospital lacks the necessary equipment to treat him, leaving him to suffer his inevitable fate — death. Lacking the resources we in the First World often take for granted, our poorest brothers and sisters in Christ are ignored by an oblivious world that often condemns them to death when their cries for help go unnoticed.
Station 2: Jesus Carries His Cross: The heavy weight of the cross bears down upon Christ as she carries water back to her impoverished village. There is no water in this parched area, so she must trudge for miles over rocky terrain each day to find a source. Etched on her face is the daily pain of her burden, as she seeks something most of us have available at the twist of a tap.
Station 3: Jesus Falls the First Time: Weak from hunger, sobbing from the pain of an empty stomach, Christ sits by a roadside as he begs for food from passing strangers. With no jobs available, his family struggles to find sustenance from day to day. Each time a child perishes from hunger, Jesus falls under the heavy weight of sorrow — the sorrow of an innocent child dying a preventable death.
Station 4: Jesus Meets His Mother: Unable to stop crying, a homeless Mary weeps in anguish, knowing her son will fall ill from living in a dirt-floor tent in a makeshift slum. Rain batters his frail body as he shivers in the cold. Without resources or income to build safe, comfortable homes, this mother and other women bear the overwhelming burden of the poverty that condemns their children’s futures.
Station 5: Simon of Cyrene Helps Jesus Carry His Cross: A caring hand reaches out to Jesus to help lift his burden. Guided by Christ’s love and a compassionate heart, Christians in the First World hear and respond to his pleas for help. Faith in action eases our Savior’s pain of bearing the cross of poverty. We are honored and blessed to share the burden as we walk with Jesus to Calvary.
Station 6: Veronica Wipes the Face of Jesus: Born into an uncertain world where few care about the fate of an HIV-positive baby, Jesus is comforted by a nurturing, caring stranger. Rejected and abandoned, and often spit upon and scorned because of AIDS, he finds temporary solace from his pain in a simple act of kindness. With few medical resources available and people too fearful to offer the reassurance of even a simple human touch, Christ suffers in the thousands of innocent AIDS babies condemned to death in the developing world.
Station 7: Jesus Falls the Second Time: Staggering beneath the tremendous burden of surviving a devastating hurricane, Christ collapses to the ground from the pain of this cross — no home, no food, no clothing, no water and no hope. She is among thousands of voices of the poor crying out for simple human dignity and a caring hand to help her to her feet. Our poorest brothers and sisters in Christ have nowhere to turn after a disaster, and they cling to hope and prayer in the struggle to survive each day.
Station 8: Jesus Comforts the Women of Jerusalem: Their laments echoing across the barren earth, the women reach out in desperation for food that has run out. Their farmlands are parched, their jobs picking coffee have vanished and hunger is a constant cry of suffering in their houses. All they have in abundance is the grief of watching their little ones starve. Though they themselves suffer, the Christ within moves them to try to comfort their families.
Station 9: Jesus Falls the Third Time: Hungry, alone and homeless, Christ sits on a busy sidewalk, her frail body in desperate need of food. Starved for attention and ignored by others, she is branded by society as worthless. Loving hands offering food and fellowship give strength to her spirit. Thousands more of the homeless and destitute collapse from the weary cross of hunger and crushing loneliness.
Station 10: Jesus is Stripped of His Garments: Christ is stripped of dignity, freedom of movement and the opportunities given to the handicapped who live in the First World. He sits alone, vulnerable and naked in his defenselessness. There are no programs to help him on his journey, and few resources are available to improve his life. Others turn their heads, unable to witness his helplessness.
Station 11: Jesus is Nailed to the Cross: Like nails driven into flesh, the agony of hunger torments Christ. Bone thin and constantly aching, he can count all his bones. The rest of the world looks on without caring about his torment. Nailed to the cross of poverty, the poor silently suffer, for lack of a little food, a little love and a little human kindness.
Station 12: Jesus Dies on the Cross: Broken, battered, in pain and alone, Christ slowly succumbs to death in an AIDS hospice. Without family or friends to hold his hand, he breathes his last. His frail body tormented by pain, his suffering finally comes to an end. Outcast by society, the poor who are stricken with AIDS quietly slip away with few people willing to provide comfort in their final hours.
“Father, into Your hands I commend My spirit.”
Station 13: Jesus is Taken Down from the Cross: When the life a mother has nurtured from birth has ended, and nothing remains except to pick up the pieces and go on, the poor are left only with faith and hope: hope that someone will renew their spirits and faith in God’s eternal promise to all of us. From the grief of a mother losing her child to starvation, seeds of hope are sewn, with each tiny shoot struggling to blossom, nurtured by the steadfast faith of those who have only their trust in God.
Station 14: Jesus is Laid in the Tomb: Buried beneath oppression, mental illness and homelessness, Jesus silently lies in his tomb as the rest of the world ignores him. This burial place is not even his own, but a public street belonging to others. Too busy with their own lives and uncomfortable at the sight of the homeless, many look away as they hurry past. Lord, how many times have we passed You by because we are buried in our own concerns and fail to see You in our poorest brothers and sisters who are suffering?
Jesus Has Risen: Once cold and dark, the tomb no longer contains the suffering Christ. From outside comes the piercing light of hope as loving hands reach out in assistance. A child finds peace and comfort in the knowledge that he is no longer alone. There are those who care, and in the spirit of Christian compassion, they fulfill Christ’s commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34)
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