The 2012 Good Friday Saskatoon Way of the Cross Prayer Walk has been prepared by an ecumenical committee representing churches across Saskatoon. The project is coordinated by the Office for Justice and Peace, Roman Catholic Diocese of Saskatoon. For additional details, contact 306-242-1500 or justpeace [at] saskatoonrcdiocese [dot] com.

Between each station, as we follow the cross we sing and pray. Please give prayerful thought to the reflections offered by each group, and offer your own prayers for the needs of the world, that God’s kingdom come, God’s will be done on earth as in heaven.

Station 1: Jesus on the Mount of Olives

He came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples followed him. When he reached the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ Then he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet, not my will but yours be done.’ Then an angel from heaven appeared to him and gave him strength. In his anguish he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground. When he got up from prayer, he came to the disciples and found them sleeping because of grief, and he said to them, ‘Why are you sleeping? Get up and pray that you may not come into the time of trial.’ (Luke 22:39-46)

Reflection (by the Inner City Council of Churches)

Why are we sleeping? Why is it so hard for us to stay awake? The sweat drips from the weary head of Christ in great drops, like blood. His passion begins, and yet we cannot shake the drowsiness from our eyes. We are like those lost in a dream, wandering in the fog.

The passion of Christ, begun so many centuries ago in that garden of longing, continues to unfold in the brokenness of our world, even now. The Son of Man, the truly Human One, enters his time of trial, even now. Why are we sleeping? Why is it so hard for us to stay awake?

As we read our papers and watch the news, the Passion of the Suffering God is revealed to us in the many stories of tragedy and injustice which mar the beauty of the world, and wrack the children of God with pain and with guilt. There is so much horror, so much oppression, that we want to turn our faces away. We want to go back to sleep. We want to escape from these times of trial and tribulation.

But there is nowhere to run. Turn to the right, a homeless woman on the street. Turn to the left, a refugee seeking shelter. Look to the sky, nuclear warheads haunt the dreams of our children. Fall to the ground, and even there you feel her pain, the pain of Mother Earth calling out for deliverance. There is nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, from the great and terrible Passion of our God.

Stay awake.

Station 2: Jesus, betrayed by Judas, is arrested

While he was still speaking, suddenly a crowd came, and the one called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, ‘Judas, is it with a kiss that you are betraying the Son of Man?’ (Luke 22:47-48)

Reflection (by Residential School Survivors)

When Judas betrayed Jesus, Jesus forgave him and Jesus continued to love him. But when Judas realized what he had done he felt so bad that he could not forgive himself, therefore he took his own life.

Many of our people have been wronged by some servants of the church. Many have been abused and mistreated. But our people are a resilient people; some of our people have forgiven the abusers and have started a healing journey.

The healing needs to continue until the jails are free of our people, until our people stop committing suicide, until they stop killing each other, until alcoholism and drug abuse stop hurting our people, until poverty and living conditions of our people improve.

We pray that we truly have forgiveness and love in our hearts for all people.

Now let us walk with our God and move forward to a new life.

Station 3: Jesus is condemned by the Sanhedrin

When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, gathered together, and they brought him to their council. They said, ‘If you are the Messiah, tell us.’ He replied, ‘If I tell you, you will not believe; and if I question you, you will not answer. But from now on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.’ All of them asked, ‘Are you, then, the Son of God?’ He said to them, ‘You say that I am.’ Then they said, ‘What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips!’ (Luke 22:66-71)

Reflection (by Pastor Jim Randall, City Centre Church)

“The elders of the people, both chief priests and scribes, came together and led Him into their council saying If you are the Christ tell us” (v.66)

In many ways these six verses of Luke chapter twenty two depict the ultimate rejection of Jesus. The elders, the chief priests, and scribes, dare I say the bishops. presbyters, apostles, senior pastors, and elders, those who should have know who the Messiah was, revealed how blind they were concerning the fulfillment of all they longed and prayed for, the coming of the Messiah.

Jesus knew that they would neither recognize him as Messiah, the anointed one the Son of God. He knew it was the Father’s will that he be smitten, bruised, scourged, counted among the transgressors, shamed, betrayed, rejected, and condemned to death.

“Leaders in the Church must set the example of acceptance.”

Rejection by those who are in a position of authority – who’s responsibility it is to affirm, acknowledge, and believe in you – is the ultimate rejection. Those of us who lead have been called to represent the accepting heart of God to our followers; we can either provide the greatest of affirmation or the greatest of rejection. We must be first to affirm Christ’s acceptance, especially to those who are so often the first to be rejected. Special attention must be given to those whose lives have been marginalised by racisms, by disability, by personal calamity, and those bound by addictions and emotional trauma.

Christ was wounded and broken, rejected and Condemned that we might be whole.

Sadly we cannot undo the rejection and condemnation so many have experienced in this life. But we can affirm Christ’s acceptance of all and the reality that his Rejection was so we would be accepted. I find it so amazing that Jesus willingly accepted the rejection of the Sanhedrin, knowing they would condemn him not for what He did, but for who He was the one and only Son of God, the true Messiah, and only Saviour of the world. Many are rejected and condemned by men simply for who they are, but Jesus accepts them as they are. What a contrast.

The solution is Christ. “Hereafter the Son of Man will sit on the right hand of the power of God.” (v.69 )

Let us this Easter season proclaim boldly that Jesus was rejected and condemned for all man, and that He willingly carried our rejections to Calvary’s cross, bearing in his own body the wounds that we carry, and was bruised for our iniquities , the inner wounds that damage the very psyche of our human nature. In this death He made healing available for all broken rejected humanity. He is the healer of the broken hearted.

From his position at the right hand of the Father, the healing power of heaven can come through his presence, through His touch, and through his church.

Therefore, we proclaim his acceptance to all who come to Him, accepting by faith his death and resurrection. Accepting Christ is to be accepted by Him, and as the Apostle Paul declared in Romans 8:1 “there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” He was condemned that we would not be condemned.

So great salvation He won for us. Hallelujah.

Station 4: Peter denies Jesus

Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house. But Peter was following at a distance. When they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat among them. Then a servant-girl, seeing him in the firelight, stared at him and said, ‘This man also was with him.’ But he denied it, saying, ‘Woman, I do not know him.’ A little later someone else, on seeing him, said, ‘You also are one of them.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I am not!’ Then about an hour later yet another kept insisting, ‘Surely this man also was with him; for he is a Galilean.’ But Peter said, ‘Man, I do not know what you are talking about!’ At that moment, while he was still speaking, the cock crowed. The Lord turned and looked at Peter. Then Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said to him, ‘Before the cock crows today, you will deny me three times.’ And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:54-62)

Reflection (by Saskatoon Ecumenical Youth)

In this passage, Peter struggles to be truthful. He doesn’t want to admit who he really is. For so many young people this is also a reality. With pressure at school, at home and in society, it is a continued struggle for young people to discover and freely express who they are.

For kids who are different, being themselves is even more challenging. Physical and intellectual disabilities, class, race, even a different way of dressing can quickly attract bullies. Being bullied causes an intense fear that makes young people deny who they really are.

But all children and youth belong to Christ, just like Peter.

Today we remember that kids living on the street, kids living in foster care, children abducted to be made into child soldiers, and children forced into prostitution, are all Christ’s own.

We remember that youth who are being bullied, and kids who are engaging in bullying others are Christ’s own.

We remember kids who feel that they will never measure up, and kids who feel pressure to be perfect. They are Christ’s own.

Here, in front of SKYAP, we affirm the contribution that young people make in the world if they are given the opportunity to express themselves, reach for their dreams, and be loved. We look forward to a time when kids are free from fear, free to be themselves, and free to be who God made them to be.

Station 5: Jesus is judged by Pilate

Pilate then called together the chief priests, the leaders, and the people, and said to them, ‘You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people; and here I have examined him in your presence and have not found this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither has Herod, for he sent him back to us. Indeed, he has done nothing to deserve death. I will therefore have him flogged and release him.’ Then they all shouted out together, ‘Away with this fellow! Release Barabbas for us!’ (This was a man who had been put in prison for an insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder.) Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again; but they kept shouting, ‘Crucify, crucify him!’ A third time he said to them, ‘Why, what evil has he done? I have found in him no ground for the sentence of death; I will therefore have him flogged and then release him.’ But they kept urgently demanding with loud shouts that he should be crucified; and their voices prevailed. So Pilate gave his verdict that their demand should be granted. He released the man they asked for, the one who had been put in prison for insurrection and murder, and he handed Jesus over as they wished. (Luke 23:13-25)

Reflection (by KAIROS Saskatoon)

Despite the power that Pilate has to free Jesus, he hands him over to the shouting crowd — Imperial Rome is long gone, injustice and suffering remain — and overwhelmingly so! Just think of the lives of millions of children that are condemned to work in the factories, mines, and fields in the developing world. Just think of our globalized trade world where the demands of our consumer society for low price goods might support child labour that causes so much injustice and suffering — we are appalled!

Strong international treaties are in place to outlaw this practice, but impoverished families, traditions, rapacious factories and shops, make them very difficult to enforce. But even in the most overwhelming societal injustice, one single life may spark a light to help dispel the darkness, a life in which we may sense the presence of Christ: Iqbah Masih was born in Asia, and spent 6 years of his early childhood chained to a carpet weaving loom. He escaped and spoke out for children’s rights — for that he lost his life when he was 12. A 12 year old and his classmates in Canada, inspired by Iqbah’s story, continue his work: “Free the Children,” is the worlds largest network of youth activists working in forty-five countries: Children helping children be free to live better lives.

When lives uncover injustice, our imaginations are transfused to see the world as it is from the perspective of the poor and the oppressed , the perspective of divine love and justice, inspiring us to keep God’s dream of justice and peace alive in the world.

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Station 6: Jesus is scourged and crowned with thorns

Now the men who were holding Jesus began to mock him and beat him; they also blindfolded him and kept asking him, ‘Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?’ They kept heaping many other insults on him. (Luke 22:63-65)

And the soldiers wove a crown of thorns and put it on his head, and they dressed him in a purple robe. They kept coming up to him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ and striking him on the face. (John 19:2-3)

Reflection (by Restorative Ministry, RC Diocese of Saskatoon)

Here we stand as a community. We stand together as a group of people who would like to see change, harmony and peace. This station reminds me of the prisoners who are put away for their crimes. I see all of us are no better than the guards who blindfolded Jesus’ eyes. We do not blindfold the inmate’s eyes but we do ours. We prefer to not look at the hungry and the homeless or the marginalized. We know it is right in our hearts to be part of these people’s lives but we are too concerned about self. Someone else can do it. This is why our dear Lord sacrificed himself for us; we could not bear that burden. So we passed it to him. He asks us to follow him only. So, why then do we not? When he was in prison we visited him. Why then do we not continue to visit him there? As believers in Christ the Lord we need to take a stand and do something about our justice system. It is not always about putting the criminals in prison. We need to help them heal. We need places for them to live. We need to have centres for them to go and find help. We need to take off the blindfold from the churches and the government and say no more prison centres; more healing places.

Station 7: Jesus takes up the cross

After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. (Mark 15:20)

Reflection (by Saskatoon Equal Justice for All)

In the verse we see how Jesus was made to endure this humiliation, this loss of dignity right in front of all those people. And by stripping him of this fine cloak the soldiers wanted to prove to these people that Jesus was not a king, was not the saviour that they had hoped and prayed for. To them he was nothing but a man, a mere man, not superior to them in anyway. This practice is still done today to others who may look or talk differently then what society considers normal. Stripping someone of their dignity cuts into their self-esteem, self-worth and to the core of who they are. It is easier to bully someone who feels they have no self-worth as they tend not to fight back as much. They are mocked and stripped of their dignity in order for others to feel like they have power over them. This bullying is very evident in our school system where it is taped and put on the internet as entertain. We sit in judgement of what we don’t or can’t understand to give us some power in our own lives especially when we have no power at home or in the workplace. This may have been exactly what the soldiers were feeling when they were doing this to Jesus. Who knows maybe Jesus is trying to teach us that even if they try to prosecute us, no one can take our dignity away unless we allow them to.

Station 8: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross

As they led him away, they seized a man, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and they laid the cross on him, and made him carry it behind Jesus. (Luke 23:26)

Reflection (by L’Arche Saskatoon)

As I reflected on the story of Simon of Cyrene, it struck me that there are two kinds of burdens: there are burdens that we can choose to carry, and there are burdens that are simply given to us, which we have no choice but to accept. Jesus knew that he faced execution in Jerusalem, and yet he went there willingly. Jesus, out of love for us, chose to take up his cross. But Simon of Cyrene had no choice about his burden: he was forced to carry the cross.

One burden that many people are forced to carry is the burden of loneliness. Loneliness is an awful burden. Mother Theresa said that “loneliness is the most terrible poverty.” In January of this year, the Globe and Mail reported on a recent study which found that 53 percent of kids with disabilities in Canada have no friends. 53 percent of the children with disabilities in our country have no friends. Loneliness is a terrible burden that many people are forced to carry.

In John chapter 15 we hear Jesus calling his disciples his friends. Jesus reaches out to us in love and he calls us his friends-and he calls us to love each other with the same love that he has shown us. So let us reach out to those who have no friends. Let us reach out in love to those who carry the burden of loneliness.

Station 9: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem

A great number of the people followed him, and among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him. But Jesus turned to them and said, ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.” Then they will begin to say to the mountains, “Fall on us”; and to the hills, “Cover us.” For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’ (Luke 23:27-31)

Reflection (by the Filipino Community, St. Patrick’s Parish)

On September 26, 2009, the Philippines experienced the wrath of typhoon Ondoy that brought tragedy, death, and sufferings to all the Filipino people in the Philippines and here in Saskatoon.

“Why do bad things happen?” “Why do people suffer from things over which they have no control?” We weep, we mourn! Mothers and fathers lose their children – children lose their parents – whole families are destroyed – those who are left suffer and pray to God for strength and courage to endure.

Experts tell us tragedies like this are caused by the “Global Warming.” The Greenhouse effect is caused by the harmful effects from the things that people have done against nature. Smoke and chemicals produced by factories, but most of all, illegal logging that destroys the trees put there to help absorb the water and thus prevent landslides.

All of us have a responsibility to protect our environment. We are called to serve as protectors of Mother Earth. When we do not do this not only is the environment destroyed but human life as well. Both of these are contrary to the will of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

We are all called to speak up against practices that destroy our environment – this is our challenge.

Station 10: Jesus is crucified

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. … When the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God and said, ‘Certainly this man was innocent.’ (Luke 23:33,47)

Reflection (by Women in Ministry)

When they had come to the place called the Skull,
there she was – thrown back and forth between soldiers out for a party …
there he was – trained to kill at age 8, a victim of hatred …
there she was – ostracized and judged because of her religion …
there they were – humiliated in front of their peers …

When they had come to the place of the Skull,
there she was – abducted, beaten and left to die …
there he was – crammed with thousands of others in a refugee camp …
there she was – a prisoner and outcast in her own home …
there they were – stripped, jeered at and whipped …

Our world is splattered with the shedding of innocent blood, both literally and figuratively. Each day women, men and children, through no fault of their own, get robbed of decency and dignity, of honour and support, of basic rights to health care and clean water, to land and livelihood.

What is it that numbs the human spirit? How can we forget that we are all “flesh of our flesh, bone of our bone”? We are created by one God, made for communion with God and with one another. Yet our actions often betray our own deepest longings, whether within our families, neighbourhoods or regarding sisters and brothers in faraway lands. We are made for communion with God and with one another, yet our paralysis and indifference reveal isolation and uncaring, judgment and even hate.

What business do we have to follow the One who was with God, who was without the darkness of sin yet freely entered the deepest despair sin can cause, undergoing the very innocent killing we commit each day in countless way? Can we drink this cup? Can we lay down our lives for one another in, with and through Jesus? How can we pray “Jesus, remember me” while failing to remember the sister and brother crying and pleading, hungering and thirsting beside us?

What will it take to come to the same realization as the centurion looking upon the cross: certainly those suffering at the hands of our ignorance, indifference and hatred – are, like Jesus, innocent …

Station 11: Jesus promises his Kingdom to the good thief

When they came to the place that is called The Skull, they crucified Jesus there with the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.’ And they cast lots to divide his clothing. …

One of the criminals who were hanged there kept deriding him and saying, ‘Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us!’ But the other rebuked him, saying, ‘Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed have been condemned justly, for we are getting what we deserve for our deeds, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’ (Luke 23:33-34,39-43)

Reflection (by LGBTTQ Christian Sharing Circle)

Jesus walks with the cross in suffering and does not cry only for Himself but for all of humanity. He asks the Father to forgive the ones doing harm to Him because they do not understand. Before He dies, He does not ask his oppressors why they have done this to Him, but asks the Father why he has allowed this to happen.

We are members of the LGBTTQ Christian Sharing Circle with our leaders and allies. We too believe that Jesus is the Messiah. In this community, people condemn or mistreat us for who we are like how people condemned and mistreated Christ. People condemn or mistreat us due to their own personal arrogance. But we must remember to listen to God and not the negativity of others.

Jesus did not deserve to be condemned because He was in fact the Messiah! But Jesus forgave his oppressors. The unjust condemnation against LGBTTQ people that happens in the churches today is not deserved. Jesus calls us to love one another, not to condemn one another.

Brothers and sisters, I invite you to help slay the demon that is called homophobia! Walk together with LGBT people. We are members of the same body, here to love and support one another on this journey in peace, love and forgiveness.

Today, we ask the father to forgive those who bully, hurt and oppress members of the LGBTTQ community.

Station 12: Jesus on the cross, his mother and his disciple

Meanwhile, standing near the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, ‘Woman, here is your son.’ Then he said to the disciple, ‘Here is your mother.’ And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home. (John 19:25b-27)

Reflection (by Parish Nurses of Saskatoon)

As we reflect on this station we see Jesus at his most vulnerable, completely exhausted, gasping to breathe, suffering, in physical pain and abandoned. We think of the many in our hospitals, nursing homes, private care homes, their own homes, who share in aspects of the vulnerability Jesus shows us in this station. We think of the many family members and caregivers, who share in the vulnerability of loved ones who are sick, and we know in this station we are united with our Lord in His suffering in a way that even today may feel almost unbearable for some.

Yet even in this moment, Jesus keeps his sense of the mission and purpose given him by his Father. His words remind us that life is never outside of God’s purpose. The sick are not without a mission, not without purpose, not to be cast aside, but are part of God’s work in our world. Here at the foot of the cross, Mary and the beloved disciple, you and I, are called to uphold the dignity of all persons. Jesus words speak to us collectively, too, as a society, of our obligation to care for the vulnerable, and our obligation to provide for access to care, compassion, and dignity for all, especially the most vulnerable or marginalized.

In these words, Jesus reminds the disciple, his mother and each of us, that we belong to each other, that God’s work of healing asks us to participate, and impels us to form communities of care and support.

Station 13: Jesus dies on the cross

It was now about noon, and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon, while the sun’s light failed; and the curtain of the temple was torn in two. Then Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, ‘Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.’ Having said this, he breathed his last. (Luke 23:44-46)

Please observe a time of silent reflection.

Station 14: Jesus is placed in the tomb

Now there was a good and righteous man named Joseph, who, though a member of the council, had not agreed to their plan and action. He came from the Jewish town of Arimathea, and he was waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God. This man went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down, wrapped it in a linen cloth, and laid it in a rock-hewn tomb where no one had ever been laid. It was the day of Preparation, and the sabbath was beginning. (Luke 23:50-54)

Reflection (by the Church Leaders of Saskatoon)

Jesus is buried in a tomb. A tomb marks the end of a life. In this instance, for the disciples, it seemed to mark the end of hope. The life and light and boundless hope which came with Jesus’ teaching, his ministry of healing, his vision of the Kingdom of God, all of these were buried in the tomb with him. The tomb is a place of profound grief, the grief associated with a brutal and seemingly meaningless death, the grief of dashed hopes, the deep grief which intuits that life is ultimately unfair, untrustworthy, unredeemed; in the words of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, it is ‘a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing’ (Act V).

Paul Tillich tells a story of a man who, after escaping the Nazi gas chambers, found refuge living in a Jewish graveyard, to which others had also fled, and where, for a time, they lived in tombs. In a grave nearby a young woman gave birth to a child. The eighty-year-old gravedigger, wrapped in a linen shroud, assisted. When the newborn child uttered his first cry, the old man prayed: ‘Great God, hast Thou finally sent the Messiah to us? For who else than the Messiah Himself can be born in a grave?’ (Paul Tillich, ‘Born in a Grave,’ The Shaking of the Foundations). Tillich ponders the logic of the gravedigger: ‘Only the Messiah can bring birth out of death.’

We believe that life rose from this tomb, and that the life which rose signifies that God goes into the darkest spaces of human existence, the places of profound grief and despair and death, and brings life. Life has the last word. But today we are invited to sit in silence before the tomb where Jesus lay, and to bring before God all those who have been buried, all those who today are buried in grief and suffering.

Concluding Prayer

Let us pray: Lord God, Creator of all things, treasury of blessings, we thank you for coming among us in Jesus, the Word made flesh. We thank you for giving yourself fully, during your ministry, and unto death. Your death has undone the power of death, and we live by the mercy of your gift of self to us, by the hope which rises with you from the tomb. Today, as we stand in awe before your suffering and death, we dare to come to you with all the wounded persons of our time and place: we bring before you all those who have been remembered during this way of the cross; all the suffering and broken and grieving people we carry in our minds and hearts; and indeed all the world’s people who find themselves in desperate need, whether from poverty or oppression, from sickness or abandonment, or from whatever leaves them in darkness. Shine your light, Lord; shine the light of your resurrection on all of them, on all of us. And let us go forth in your name as bearers of light, and hope, and life. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Sisters and brothers, let us end our way of the cross by joining together to pray in Jesus’ name. Our Father …