St Werburgh's Roman Catholic Parish, Chester

Stations of the Cross. VIII: Jesus speaks to the women of Jerusalem

In the midst of his suffering, Jesus recognises that others will also face trials and suffering in times to come. It is the human condition, to suffer, to undergo pain; sometimes on account of our own actions, for which we must hold ourselves responsible; but sometimes too at the hands of others, or, perhaps most difficult to understand, with no apparent cause or reason.

Luke 23: 27-32 Large numbers of people followed him, and women too, who mourned and lamented for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me; weep rather for yourselves and for your children. For look, the days are surely coming when people will say, "Blessed are those who are barren, the wombs that have never borne children, the breasts that have never suckled!" Then they will begin to say to the mountains, "Fall on us!"; to the hills, "Cover us!" For if this is what is done to green wood, what will be done when the wood is dry?'

In this depiction Jesus has regained his footing and strides forward into a still deeper coloured sky. He turns to address the two female figures kneeling in supplication. He extends his arm to them in blessing, and in farewell.

Here Jesus is setting aside his own suffering, intense as it is, to show to the women his empathy with them, and his care for the hardships they endure in their own lives. It is a sympathetic and a caring response. Lord, may I always reach out to others in this way, even when my own troubles seem uppermost in my mind.

Stations of the Cross
Station VII
Station IX