(My sharing on the First Station of the Cross)
As promised in my last article titled, “Be Silent and Listen”, I am sharing now some of my learnings and inspirations from the three-day silent retreat that I attended early this July.
Near the top of my bucket list reads, “Go to a Holy Land Pilgrimage, and walk where Jesus walked.” Well, to date, this item is still unticked. I’m still praying for this to happen. But, thanks to Father Vic Santos, our retreat master, I had a prelude to walking where Jesus walked. In fact, I do not need to go to the Holy Land to walk where Jesus walked. Father Vic led us, the retreatants to a journey accompanying Jesus in the Way of the Cross, as he shared his inspired meditations on each station.
One of my best learnings from this retreat is this. Whenever I am reading The Word of God, I should imagine and put myself in the scene being read. The first station is when Jesus was condemned to death.
I can hear the people shouting the criminal’s name “Barrabas!”, when asked by Pontius Pilate to choose whom they wanted released. And shouting even louder, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” when asked, “What then am I to do with Jesus?” How could Pilate wash his hands of this great tragedy? He knew Jesus was innocent! I couldn’t help but cry inside.
And yet, If I were to be very honest, I do not know if I would have done differently, in front of an angry mob.
Back to the scene, I see Jesus with His hands tied together in front of Him. He remains silent. My heart is reaching out to His. I want to beg Him to please do something! Do one of His miracles. This cannot be happening! Where are all His disciples? Have they all left Him? What can I do?
My Dearest fellow pilgrims,
I ask you as I ask myself too, “Are you willing to accompany Jesus?” He is knocking at our hearts, pleading with His silent presence. He wants to enter. Shall we keep the doors of our hearts locked? Will we be like the cowardly Pilate, more concerned about what the people will say and do to him? Will we be like the fickle-minded Herod, who saw only what he wanted to see.
Even if the Truth was already in front of him, he couldn’t see. Or are we ready to face the Truth, about God and about ourselves? Are we ready to face our wickedness and beg God’s forgiveness? Are we ready to love the way Jesus loved; giving everything, and loving till the end, with no compromise? Tall order? “What is impossible for man is possible with God.” - Luke 18:27
I agree with Father Vic. Jesus gently knocks at our hearts everyday, in many different ways. Sometimes he knocks, through the words in a song, in a line of a book we are reading, in a forwarded text message, through an advice, with the scorching sun, the relentless rain, an event, an article in a newspaper, and many other ways. Sometimes we do not hear or ... we refuse to hear; sometimes we are too busy, pretend to be busy, or just do not pay attention. The truth is, God will never force Himself on us, that’s why He has given us the free will to choose what we want. But, because He is our loving Father, He waits and waits endlessly.
I conclude this article by sharing with you the same invitation I received from Jesus to open our hearts to Him and listen to what He is telling us and is asking of us. If only we realize just how much He truly loves us, we will not hesitate to walk where He walked.
“Therefore so as you received Jesus Christ our Lord, so walk in Him.” - Collosians 2:6
P.S. I hesitated sending this article, thinking the readers will be turned off and say it’s too preachy. But then I thought of Pilate. Do I care more about what the readers will think and say about me? Or do I care about what I believe is following God’s will and pleasing the Father? Even if just one reader hears the gentle knocking of God through this article, it would have been worth all the ridicule I will receive.