“Jesus is robbed of His garments.” In the Tenth Station, we commemorate one of the many unjust humiliations that Our Savior suffered for us on His way to Golgotha.
How many times have we experienced various unjust “robbings”? How many times have we been the victim of offences and negligences to our persons, our relationships, and our properties? For example…
How many times have we been unjustly robbed of our good names or relationships when someone we thought was a friend betrayed a confidence, or when someone who was envious or vindictive outright lied about us?
How many times have we been unjustly robbed of our existing or potential material goods when we were victims of theft or fraud, or broken contracts and other commitments?
How many times, out of prejudice, avarice or greed, have we been unjustly kept from being hired or retained in a job we were demonstrably qualified to hold? Or how many times have we been kept from well-earned promotions, or in other ways, been limited by unjust advancement opportunities or subjected to too-low wages?
How many times have we been robbed of our wholesome, God-given dreams by the jealous or abusive put-downs of those whose opinions we take to heart?
No doubt there are many other examples of how we have unjustly suffered; how we have unjustly been robbed.
During this Jubilee of Mercy, the Holy Father asks us (as Jesus taught us) to forgive our enemies. In referring to the parable of the servant forgiven by his master who then refused to forgive the debt of his fellow servant (Matt. 18:23-35) the Holy Father said in #9 of his Jubilee "Bull of Indiction": Misericordiae Vultus (Face of Mercy):
“…Pardoning offences becomes the clearest expression of merciful love, and for us Christians it is an imperative from which we cannot excuse ourselves. At times how hard it seems to forgive! And yet pardon is the instrument placed into our fragile hands to attain serenity of heart. To let go of anger, wrath, violence, and revenge are necessary conditions to living joyfully. Let us therefore heed the Apostle’s exhortation: ‘Do not let the sun go down on your anger’ (Eph 4:26). Above all, let us listen to the words of Jesus who made mercy an ideal of life and a criterion for the credibility of our faith: ‘Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy’ (Mt 5:7): the beatitude to which we should particularly aspire in this Holy Year… As the Father loves, so do his children. Just as he is merciful, so we are called to be merciful to each other.”
Unfortunately, we aren’t always in the victim role when it comes to this Station; sometimes we are the robbers. So, the challenge for us, I think, is to be more mindful of not robbing others, and if we do, to be sacramentally repentant before God, and to make restitution to those we have robbed.
Because our experience teaches us that we ordinarily never fully recover those things of which we have been robbed, we can become more committed never to rob others.
And when we are on the receiving end of the robbings, we can look to the Lord to heal us, to compensate us as only He can, and to make us capable, with the help of His Grace, to forgive those who have harmed us.
”Bless the Lord, my soul; all my being, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, my soul; and do not forget all his gifts, Who pardons all your sins, and heals all your ills…” (Ps. 103:1-3)
In this Jubilee Year and always, may God have Mercy on us in every loss and in every other circumstance!