Stations of the Cross

Feb 26, 2024

First Station of the Cross Reading: Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took along Peter and the two sons of Zebedee and began to feel sorrow and distress. Then he said to them, “My soul is sorrowful even to death. Remain here and keep watch with me.” He advanced a little and fell prostrate in prayer, saying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet, not as I will, but as you will.” When he returned to his disciples, he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  (Matthew 26:36–41)

When Jesus went into the garden of Gethsemane, Matthew’s Gospel tells us that he brought “Peter and the two sons of Zebedee.” It was a family event. Jesus was going to pray to his father for strength to face His greatest challenge yet, and he wanted his earthly family around him. And yet, they couldn’t stay awake. They missed the opportunity to support Jesus in his time of need and left him completely alone. 

When my children were young, my husband and I thought bringing them to a Carnegie Hall concert would be fun. In my mind, this was an amazing opportunity for them to witness a beautiful event. Instead, they spent the entire first half of the show complaining about how tired they were. My husband and I tried in vain to get them to engage with the music, listen, and not annoy everyone around us—but we failed. They fell asleep. 

Over this season of Lent, our church will offer several opportunities to follow the Stations of the Cross and two specifically sponsored by the Family Ministry. On March 3rd, there will be a Family Ministry Stations of the Cross after the 11 AM Mass. On March 20th, there is an evening opportunity to follow the Stations of the Cross for Migrants, followed by a panel discussion co-sponsored by Ignatian Social Justice and Family Ministry. 

But why should families attend these events? Why would we bring our children, when they might be tired, busy, or hungry, to walk the final steps of Jesus? What if they cry, run around, or fall asleep? When Jesus went to His suffering, he wanted His earthly family there with Him, even if they could not understand what was happening. He wanted them in the garden, even when they fell asleep. He wanted them to observe His sufferings, even when they could not and would not intervene. Even in His final sufferings, He wanted those who loved Him close by. And today, He still wants this from us. He wants us to bring our children even when they cry, even when they complain about being tired, even when they fall asleep. We follow a Savior who knows that family is messy and still wants us all together during the fun times and the sober times. This is why I am bringing my children to the Stations of the Cross this year. And why I encourage anyone who is a child of someone to join us. 

— Sarah Tintle