The crowd lines the street at the Praetorium gate; they have come out to witness, sadly, an all too common spectacle. But this day, from the gate staggers Christ under the weight of the cross; the cross of their sins, our sins, the sins of the world; past, present and future. And there among them, a group of women weeping and lamenting the treatment of Christ. They are followers of His and they are standing, waiting, watching and weeping as He starts His Via Dolorosa.
As He passes Christ turns to them and tells them ‘Do not weep for me…’ He looks at them, into them; He knows them – knows their past, knows their future, knows their love; knows their sins. He is carrying the cross for them – for everyone. It had to be this way; their (and our) transgressions couldn’t be wiped away with remorse, they were too great. The sins of the world need a great payment for redemption, a great sacrifice. There is nothing mankind can give God that wasn’t His to begin with; only God’s love and mercy can remove our offenses. As these women begin to follow Christ they are unaware of the import of His actions, as He staggers to His death; but He knows He is walking their sins to their death.
His walk that started almost 2,000 years ago continues still. He walks towards us as we too stand on the side of the road and weep at the injustice done to Him. We are as complicit as those women were in this injustice; we are the reason for His walk. He looks into our eyes and tells us: ‘don’t weep for Me’. He knows us, knows our past, knows our future, knows our conscience – and He walks our sins to their death. He sees our reluctance to follow His path, our weak desire to be closer to Him and our excuses as to why we lag behind.
Easier to feel the anguish of remorse than the struggle of discipleship.
Like the rich man we can go away sad, but relieved, as we don’t follow the true path – it is just too hard, too inconvenient.
But still, He walks the path for us; He takes our sins to their death.
Our decisions have slowed us on our journey; we have found a comfortable hovel to wallow in. Why walk the hard road to paradise when we can stay here and weep for mankind, weep for our plight? Interior improvement isn’t desirable since improvement requires struggle and after all:
He walks the path for us; He takes our sins to their death.
But it is the journey of true love that makes us whole: love for others, love for God. It is true Love that brings peace; brings joy. The struggle of love enriches us, strengthens us. True, it does what we fear: it moves us from the side of the road comfortably weeping into the road walking with Christ. But it is the only way to escape the spiritual hovel we have been living in; the only way to return thanks for a gift that isn’t deserved; the only way to be truly and fully human. It is the only way to stop weeping.
As with those faithful women let us too walk the path with Him as He takes our sins to their death.