Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.  Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

Was it the sound of their weeping that caught his attention? Doubtful.  He knew they were there for they always were – the women – following, supporting, listening, responding, encouraging and loving.  He numbered many of them among his friends and, following the resurrection. they were among the first to whom he appeared.

One of the criticisms leveled against our church is its apparent lack of placement of women in key roles of the church.  Indeed, on that very memorable night that saw the election of Pope Francis, this was once again very much in the spotlight.  No women were seen on the balcony when Francis was announced.  This is a fact and maybe one we do well not to ignore.  On St Peter’s Square there were countless women.  Some of them, like those found in this Station, crying – though tears of happiness as Francis found his voice and wished them and all of us a “Good Evening”.  They are always there in terms of church and, many of them, are the backbone of parish life and church groups and leaders of prayer …. there place is so central.

Is this a station about “women’s rights” or the ordination of women?  I don’t think so.  It is a station that speaks to all of us about the centrality of women in our lives and church.  It’s not a station about control or equality – at least I don’t think it is – but it is one about recognition and acknowledgment.  It is one about listening and responding and it is one about shared space and vision.  It is about Christ turning his gaze in the direction of a group of women who understood what was going on and wanted to show support.

The women in this station draw close to the suffering Christ. They teach us how to respond to cruelty and wrongdoing in the only way that is appropriate and natural – through our tears.  We MUST be moved to tears when we see suffering.  We must also recognise the place – the entitlement of these women’s offspring to have their place – not just on the side of the road of “The Way of The Cross” but on the balcony … and ordination is not the essential ingredient – that central ingredient is their presence.  That’s what Jesus noticed as he neared Calvary – not that they were or were not Ministers of Religion but that they were “there” and that they cared ….

Oh, that today we would listen to his voice, let us harden not our hearts.

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