Outside the walls of the city, the body of Jesus again gives way through weakness, and he falls a second time, amid the shouts of the crowd and the rough handling of the soldiers.
Infirmity of body and bitterness of soul have caused Jesus to fall again. All the sins of men mine too weigh down on his Sacred Humanity.
He has borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows, and we have taken him for a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted. But he was wounded for our iniquities and bruised for our sins. On him fell the punishment that brought us salvation, and by his wounds we have been healed (Isai 53:4-5).
Jesus stumbles, but his fall lifts us up, his death brings us back to life.
To our falling again and again into evil, Jesus responds with his determination to redeem us, with an abundance of forgiveness. And, so that no one may despair, again he wearily raises himself, embracing the Cross.
May our stumbles and defeats separate us from Him no more. Just as a feeble child throws itself contritely into the strong arms of its father, you and I will hold tightly to the yoke of Jesus. Only a contrition and humility like this can transform our human weakness into the fortitude of God.
Points for meditation
1. Jesus is brought down by the weight of the Cross... We, by the attraction of the things of this world.
He prefers to fall rather than let go of the Cross. That is how Christ heals the lack of love that casts us down.
2. You are discouraged, why? Is it your sins and miseries? Is it your defeats, at times coming one after the other? A really big fall, which you didn 't expect?
Be simple. Open your heart. Look: as yet nothing has been lost. You can still go forward, and with more love, with more affection, with more strength.
Take refuge in your divine sonship: God is your most loving Father. In this lies your security, a haven where you can drop anchor no matter what is happening on the surface of the sea of life. And you will find joy, strength, optimism: victory!
3. You said to me: Father, I am having a very rough time.
In answer I whispered in your ear: Take upon your shoulders a small part of that cross, just a tiny part. And if you can 't manage that then... leave it entirely on the strong shoulders of Christ. And from this moment on, repeat with me: My Lord and my God: into your hands I abandon the past and the present and the future, what is small and what is great, what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot, things temporal and things eternal.
Then, don 't worry any more.
4. From time to time I have wondered which kind of martyrdom is the greater: that of the person who receives death for the faith, at the hands of God 's enemies; or the martyrdom of someone who spends his years working with no other purpose than that of serving the Church and souls, and who grows old smiling, all the while passing unnoticed...
For me, the unspectacular martyrdom is more heroic... That is your way.
5. In order to follow Our Lord, to get close to him, we have to trample our own selves underfoot, by means of humility, just as grapes are trodden in the winepress.
If we trample on our wretchedness for wretched we certainly are He gladly makes himself at home in our soul. And, as he did in Bethany, he speaks to us and we to him, in a trusting conversation between friends.