IX. Jesus encounters the women of Jerusalem (Lk 23.27-31)

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?

"My whole life I have carried my cross.  My entire life has been a self-emptying in obedience to the Father.  'For though I am in the form of God, I do not deem equality with God something to be grasped at.' (Philippians 2.6)  And so you join me late in witnessing my sacrifice, though it has been occurring since my birth.  Yet your heart moves with pity for me - what Christian heart doesn't?  But I turn your pity for me into sorrow for your sins, for they are the reason for this.  'No one takes my life from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.' (John 10.18)  I am doing this willingly; it is why I came.  So I turn your tears of sorrow for me into tears of repentance for yourself.  Do not let a single vision of my Passion be wasted; let each meditation of my suffering be accompanied by a firm commitment to repentance.

"And now that I have directed your heart and your energies toward where I want them, I also forewarn you of your own suffering so that you may be prepared."  'Because I have chosen you the world will hate you. If they persecute me they will persecute you.' (John 15.18-20)

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