Third Station

Jesus falls for the first time

From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah (53:4)

Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.

1992 073 004 V0001George Tooker (American, 1920–2011), Drawings for “The Stations of the Cross,” 1984, Pencil on tracing paper. Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame. Gift of the artist. 1992.073.004


The beginnings of momentous events are often so deceiving, aren’t they? Something significant starts, and we begin to formulate, or have already decided in our own minds our perceptions of how it will end. Sometimes those expectations are shattered dramatically, as they were in 2017 for the crowd at the Harvest Music Festival concert in Las Vegas when the shooting began. Sometimes they are dismantled more methodically as when “confirmed cases” and “confirmed deaths” keep ticking up and up during our current pandemic.

What could have been going through Jesus’s mind when he fell for the first time? Surely some new inkling of the reality he had spent the previous night praying about in the garden entered his mind and heart as the weight of the cross pushed him to the ground for the first time. Did he know somehow that he would become so exhausted that he would fall twice more? Did he understand the truth of Isaiah’s words, which he surely knew from the Hebrew Bible: “Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases?”

And yet our faith calls us to hope even as our expectations are shattered; our hopes feel dashed; our early understandings seem broken in the face of a new reality. We are blessed to know the end of the Good Friday story; we are therefore not held captive by the fear we feel as it begins. May we allow our faith in God to give us the hope that, in the midst of events for which we do not know the ending, we at least can be certain that God will walk with us, and will lavish grace upon us if we can only see it, in every moment, in every situation.

– Kate Barrett, Associate Director of Liturgy in Campus Ministry

Second Station Fourth Station