Women at the Foot of the Cross
Jesus is forced to carry his cross through the crowds to the place where he is to die. The women sit at the foot of the cross with Mary his mother as he suffers pain.
To read or hear Mary, mother of Jesus’ story see below
I watch with horror and dismay as the crowd demanded Jesus’ death. My son who I carried in my womb, who I cared for as he grew, who I comforted when he was ill. I hope now that he could see my face and know my deep love for him, know how much I care for him.
I hold my breath when I saw him fall under the weight of the cross and watch as he struggled to get back up, knowing that this suffering has meaning. I had understood this from the start. I catch his gaze and I feel the intensity of his pain within myself, deep within my soul. Unable to walk much further on unsteady feet and yet I know I have to accompany him on his final journey, that path of suffering and death, my whole being howling with pain and injustice. Even now I know he is worrying about me and what I will do without him.
Suddenly a woman pushes through the crowd, braving the wrath of the soldiers and approaches my son. I see her wipe his mutilated face, a gesture of kindness which must have taken such courage. I catch her eye as she moves away, a knowing look between mothers passes between us.
Again he falls. The weight of the cross is unbearable but again he gets back up and he continues his tortured walk towards the place where he is to die. He is exhausted, I am so full of sorrow. Why has God forsaken him?
Then in an act of humiliation, the soldiers undress Jesus, sneering at him, stripping him of his dignity. I shudder at the sight of his battered body and feel wounded deep in my own flesh.
I stand in silence with Mary Magdelene and the other women who stand with me to bear my pain and the suffering of my son until his final hour. As he is taken down from the cross I hold my son in my arms, the same way I cradled him as a child watching him sleep, holding him tightly not wanting to let him go and yet knowing that somehow everything that had been told to me has happened. I weep silently for myself and my child and know the pain he went through.
How would you have felt if you were in the crowd watching this?
Would you have been brave enough to approach Jesus as the woman did?