Station 4: Jesus Meets His Afflicted Mother

Location: Along W. Doty Street, near Dane County Jail

Stations of the Cross (Mt. Cabrini Shrine)

Stations of the Cross (Mt. Cabrini Shrine)

A reading from the Gospel according to Luke

Then Jesus looked up at his disciples and said: ‘Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.’ (Luke 6:20-21)



The Gospels tell us nothing about this encounter between Jesus and Mary on the road to Golgotha.  How did Mary find out that her son was about to be executed?  What did Jesus feel? What could Jesus have possibly said to console her?  We lack any details, and yet it’s not hard to imagine the scene.  It is played out again and again every day.  Mothers lose their children to violence, to addiction, to the desperation of poverty, to starvation, to disease. Mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers are called to the police station, the courthouse, the hospital, the jail, to hear bitter news of those they love and grieve.

Last fall, after months of public debate, the Dane County Board approved funding to build more jail cells, to replace the dangerously outdated cells still in use in the City-County Building.  Advocates and community members pleaded that the money be spent instead on housing, health care, and other support services to reduce the jail population, instead of continuing to criminalize poverty, mental illness, and addiction. The United States has one of the highest rates of incarceration in the world.

Let us remember all those who suffer the loss of their loved ones to injustice, violence, and poverty, and especially all those in prison, whom Jesus commended to our care.


A Prayer for All in Need

Keep watch, dear Lord, with all who wait, and watch, and weep today.  Tend the sick, Lord Christ; give rest to the weary, bless the dying, soothe the suffering, pity the afflicted, shield the dying; and all for your love’s sake. Amen.


Holy God,
Holy and mighty,
Holy immortal one,
have mercy upon us.