Note: The Lectio Divina based devotion below follows a Lenten journey called “By His Side.” The order for daily scriptures throughout Lent comes from “Praying with Passion,” by Ken Taylor. The daily scriptures chronologically follow the passion of Christ from the Last Supper to the crucifixion. I focus on a particular word or phrase from the day’s reading and meditate on what the passage says about Christ, human nature, and about our relationship with Christ and others. I end the meditation with a prayer for God’s grace.
Lectio: Luke 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?”
Contemplation: “among them were women who were beating their breasts and wailing for him.”
Meditation: Jesus sees and stops to talk to a group of women along the road to Golgatha. Some interpreters say that Jesus is selflessly consoling the women in their pain. At the same time, he receives their love and cares for him. Other interpreters say that Jesus chastises the group of women because they are professional mourners making a disingenuous commotion like the ones at Jarius’ home (Mt. 9:18-26; Mk. 5:22-43, Lk. 8:41-56).
As a pastor, I’ve stood by many women in harrowing pain over the loss of a loved one. I approach this morning’s meditation with respect and empathy for the sorrow and pain the women in today’s scripture demonstrate. The women are not named. But, they symbolize all the mothers and women that weep and wail for their loved ones that suffer and die every day from disease, infections, accidents, suicide, violence, and malnutrition. Jesus sees all women in all times and places who weep and wail for those they love and can no longer see or hold. He visits and becomes present to them, consoling and healing their pain and suffering through means of grace such as scripture, prayer, worship, sharing in the sacraments, and Christian community. Jesus is also present when steps for justice are taken to remedy the perpetuation of needless and wrongful disease and death.
Prayer: Today, I ask for the grace to console the suffering and dying.