Eleventh Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross

They crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote a title and put it on the cross; it read: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”.

John 19:18-19

Having come to the place called Calvary, the soldiers crucify Jesus. Pilate has a sign written: “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews”, to insult him and to humiliate the Jews. But, without intending to do so, this inscription testifies to a reality: the kingship of Jesus, the king of a kingdom unlimited by time and space.

We can only imagine the cruelty and the unrelenting agony which Jesus experienced during the crucifixion. We enter into the realm of mystery: why did God, who became man for love of us, let himself be nailed to a piece of wood and lifted up amid atrocious physical and spiritual torments?

It was for love. Love. It is the law of love that leads us to give our own lives for the good of others. We see this in mothers who face even death in order to bring their children into the world. Or parents who have lost a child in war or in acts of terrorism, yet choose not to seek revenge.

Jesus, on Calvary you embody all of us,
every man and woman, of the past, present and future.
On the cross you taught us to love.
Now we begin to understand the secret of that perfect joy
of which you spoke to the disciples at the Last Supper.
You wished to come down from heaven, to become a child,
then an adult, and thus to go up to Calvary,
in order to teach us by your life the meaning of true love.

Gazing at you on the cross, we too, as families, husbands and wives, parents and children, gradually learn to love one another, and to love and cultivate around us that openness which generously gives and gratefully receives. An openness capable of suffering, and of transforming suffering into love.

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