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Wednesday — April 1, 2020

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The Second Station
Jesus Willingly Accepts the Cross Which the Father had Given Him

From the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 26

30 After the psalms had been sung [at the Last Supper] they left for the Mount of Olives.
31 Then Jesus said to them, ‘You will all fall away from me tonight, for the scripture says: I shall strike the shepherd and the sheep of the flock will be scattered,
32 but after my resurrection I shall go ahead of you to Galilee.’
33 At this, Peter said to him, ‘Even if all fall away from you, I will never fall away.’
34 Jesus answered him, ‘In truth I tell you, this very night, before the cock crows, you will have disowned me three times.’
35 Peter said to him, ‘Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you.’ And all the disciples said the same.
36 Then Jesus came with them to a plot of land called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, ‘Stay here while I go over there to pray.’
37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee with him. And he began to feel sadness and anguish.
38 Then he said to them, ‘My soul is sorrowful to the point of death. Wait here and stay awake with me.’
39 And going on a little further he fell on his face and prayed. ‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if it is possible, let this cup pass me by. Nevertheless, let it be as you, not I, would have it.’
40 He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, ‘So you had not the strength to stay awake with me for one hour?
41 Stay awake, and pray not to be put to the test. The spirit is willing enough, but human nature is weak.’
42 Again, a second time, he went away and prayed: ‘My Father,’ he said, ‘if this cup cannot pass by, but I must drink it, your will be done!’
43 And he came back again and found them sleeping, their eyes were so heavy.
44 Leaving them there, he went away again and prayed for the third time, repeating the same words.
45 Then he came back to the disciples and said to them, ‘You can sleep on now and have your rest. Look, the hour has come when the Son of man is to be betrayed into the hands of sinners.
46 Get up! Let us go! Look, my betrayer is not far away.’
47 And suddenly while he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared, and with him a large number of men armed with swords and clubs, sent by the chief priests and elders of the people.
48 Now the traitor had arranged a sign with them saying, ‘The one I kiss, he is the man. Arrest him.’
49 So he went up to Jesus at once and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi,’ and kissed him.
50 Jesus said to him, ‘My friend, do what you are here for.’ Then they came forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.
51 And suddenly, one of the followers of Jesus grasped his sword and drew it; he struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his ear.
52 Jesus then said, ‘Put your sword back, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.
53 Or do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defence?
54 But then, how would the scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be?’
55 It was at this time that Jesus said to the crowds, ‘Am I a bandit, that you had to set out to capture me with swords and clubs? I sat teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid a hand on me.’
56 Now all this happened to fulfil the prophecies in scripture.

The cross of Christ has become the great symbol of our faith. Saint Paul made the statement: I glory in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ (Galatians 6:14). There is much more to the cross than the wooden beams. Jesus told us at the first prediction of his passion: Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me (Mark 8:34) to which Luke adds: take up your cross daily (Luke 9:23). So when did Jesus “accept” the cross which his Father had given him? Was it at the time of physically carrying the cross or earlier? The scripture above concludes with the frequent statement of Matthew that the Jesus’ events were all part of God’s overall plan. Jesus accepted his mission from the Father long before the Roman soldiers placed the wooden cross on his shoulders. Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane wonderfully expressed his embrace of the call given him by the Father. This is the glory of his cross. It is ours as well.

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you;
for by your cross and resurrection you have redeemed the world.