Stations of the Cross at Elon

3rd Station: Jesus Falls for the First Time

As Jesus continues his way of the cross, his state of physical exhaustion becomes more apparent. Jesus had gone without sleep the night before, endured the scourging at the pillar, the crowning with thorns, the taunts and slaps of the soldiers. He has lost blood. His body is tired and in need of rest. The wooden cross was heavy, and his shoulder pained beneath its rubbing weight. Perhaps his foot tripped on one of the cobblestones, or his body just couldn't continue the soldiers' hurrying pace. And so he falls.

The weight of the cross upon him as his body hits against the ground. The fall bruises his elbows and knees, and the crown of thorns digs deeper into his head. More blood is lost in the dirt.

As followers of Jesus, we too are to carry the weight of the cross. "If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let them renounce themselves and take up their cross everyday and follow me."

What are our crosses and how well do we carry them?

Perhaps our cross is some problem in a relationship: at home, at work, or at school. Perhaps we're misunderstood, or not taken seriously enough. Perhaps we bear the burden of ill health, or the cross of a sick relative or friend. Maybe ours is having to deal with a difficult person.

Do we try to carry our crosses patiently, as a sharing in the cross of Jesus, or do we run the other way?

Jesus fell beneath the weight of the cross, but he gets up again to continue his way.

Do we strive to pick ourselves up when we've fallen, made some mistake, said something we shouldn't have, given in to temptation? Are we willing to renew past good resolutions, and willing to work at increasing our virtue, even in the face of our own broken promises and sin?

Do we look to help others to carry their crosses? Do we offer our help when somehow they've fallen?

Or are we always critical, quick to judge another, impatient with their short-comings? Do we use another's weakness as an opportunity to gossip or complain?

Could it be that we ourselves are sometimes, somehow the cause of another's fall? If so, are we also there to pick them up, to help guide them back onto the path of salvation?