Stations of the Cross 08 with Joan Chittister, OSB

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Jesus meets the weeping women of Jerusalem

The eighth station of the cross compels us to consider the long-range implications of our actions. It is the counterpoint of the sixth. The sixth station reminds us that mercy must prevail. The eighth station tells us that justice must come or we will all suffer for the lack of it. To seek justice without doing mercy, to do mercy but not to seek justice is, in both instances, to live a partial life. To feed the hungry but fail to question the policies that make people hungry or leave people hungry neglects the real issue.

Some of us find it easy to judge and condemn. Others find it easy to serve and support. The truth is that support without judgment is compliance with evil. “Don’t weep for me if this happens,” Jesus tells the women of Jerusalem. “Weep for yourselves and your children if this society continues on the road that it is on.” Don’t weep for the people on death row, in other words, weep for the kind of society that would stoop so low as to become what it hates.

The question with which the eighth station of the cross confronts us—Do we really reject what we call sinful or do we really reject only the sinners themselves?—brings us to face ourselves at our deepest, darkest core.

Prayer

Jesus, help me to strive for both mercy

and justice. Give me the heart to stand with

the people who need me and the mettle

to go beyond what is to what can be.

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