The Seventh Station - Jesus falls the second time.

AP Photo / Itsuo Inouye

We gratefully remember and praise you, Jesus,
because your life teaches us how to live as your disciples.

The path toward impending death, under the burden of pain and humiliation, brings you to this dreaded moment of falling again, Jesus. The crowd, which had turned to silence at the sight of Veronica’s compassion, lets out a combined groan of empathy. A few leave the scene and come to terms with not wanting to be associated with your suffering and death, Jesus.

Some young but mature persons come to the realization that they cannot in any circumstance ethically join the military. They turn their backs on recruiters declaring conscientious objection to war. It even happens to men and women already inducted into military life after they have participated in the brutality which war celebrates. It is incumbent on a gospel-oriented church to offer succor and defense to youthful citizens who face derision and defamation. All the baptized are called to be advocates of those who follow the directives of their conscience, especially in a war initiated under false pretenses.

On my knees I beg you to turn away from the paths of violence…. I say to you with all the love I have for you, with all the trust I have in young people: do not listen to voices, which speak the language of hatred, revenge, retaliation. Do not follow any leaders who train you in the way of inflicting death…. Give yourself to the service of life, not the work of death. Violence is the enemy of justice. Only peace can lead the way to true justice. - Pope John Paul II