from Joan Chittister, OSB
As soon as it was morning, the chief priests, with the elders and scribes, and the whole council, held a consultation; and they bound Jesus and led him away and delivered him to Pilate. And they all condemned him and said, “He deserves to die.” When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called the Pavement, but in the Hebrew, Gabbatha. Then he handed Jesus over to them to be crucified.
The First Station commemorates Jesus being sentenced to death before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate. Jesus is condemned to die because he defied the standards of both the state and the religious establishment in which he lived. To both, he brought a truth they did not want to hear. He set out to witness to the love and justice of the God of all creation: Jews and non-Jews, women as well as men, underlings as well as the professional types of his time. He threatened the establishment with his incessant attempts to build a better world, and they destroyed him for it.
What is it in life for which we are willing to be condemned? The goal in life is not to avoid condemnation. No one does. Life’s great challenge is simply to decide who will condemn us and why. If we were better people, perhaps we would be condemned more often. Most of all, when we are condemned for the right reasons, the first station reminds us, we know we will not be alone. Jesus will be standing beside us, hands tied, head up and unyielding.
Jesus, when I am being condemned for doing good where wrong has been, strengthen me. Amen.