FRIEDRICH OVERBECK (1789-1869)
WATER-COLOUR ON BOARD - Vatican Museum
Jesus takes up the cross
V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world
From the Gospel according to Mark 15:20
And when they had mocked him,
they stripped him of the purple cloak,
and put his own clothes on him.
and they led him out
to crucify him.
The just man unjustly condemned to die outside:
outside the camp, outside the holy city, outside human society.
The soldiers strip him and put his clothes back on him.
They place the beam on his shoulders, the heavy price of the gallows,
sign of contradiction and instrument of capital execution.
Wood of ignominy,
that weighs, like an extreme burden, on the wounded shoulders of Jesus.
The hatred permeating it makes its weight unbearable.
And yet that wood of the cross is redeemed by Jesus,
it becomes the sign of a life lived and offered out of love for men and women.
According to tradition, Jesus staggers,
three times he falls under that weight.
Jesus has placed no limit on his love,
"having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end" (Jn 13:1).
Obedient to the Father's word
- you shall love the Lord you God with all your might (Deut 6:5) -
he loved God and fulfilled his will to the end.
Jesus, king of glory, crowned with thorns,
bowed under the weight of the cross
that the hands of men prepared for you,
impress upon our hearts the image of your face covered with blood,
so that it may remind us that you loved us to the point of giving yourself up for us (Gal 2:20).
May our gaze never move from the sign of our salvation,
raised up on the heart of the world,
for, contemplating it and believing in you,
we do not become lost, but have eternal life (Jn 3:14-16).
on your lacerated shoulders lies the weight of the shameful gibbet:
by your gift the cross becomes a constellation of jewels
and the tree of Paradise becomes once more the tree of life.
R/. To you be praise and glory for ever.