Stations of the Resurrection - VIA Lucis, The Way of Light

The Via Lucis, the “Way of Light,” emerges for Triduum liturgies in the same spirit of devotion. Also known as the Stations of the Resurrection, this devotion parallels the Glorious Mysteries of the Rosary just as the Via Crucis complement the Sorrowful Mysteries. These stations were discovered in the Catacombs of St. Callistus in Rome.

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Station I: Jesus Rises from the Dead

"The angel of the Lord said to the women: 'Do not be afraid! I know that you are seeking Jesus the crucified. He is not here, for He has been raised just as He said." (Matthew 28: 5b-6a).

The empty tomb was not a proof of the resurrection, but rather a silent witness of the greatest event of our faith. Seeing the empty tomb, the disciples were motivated to seek the Risen Lord at work in their midst. They saw and believed in the continuing presence of the Lord of love. All the empty and lonely places of human life are precisely where the Lord wishes to work and be revealed.

 

Station II: The Disciples Discover the Empty Tomb

"Then the other disciple also went in, the one who had arrived at the tomb first, and he saw and believed" (John 20: 8).

The empty tomb was not a proof of the resurrection, but rather a silent witness of the greatest event of our faith. Seeing the empty tomb, the disciples were motivated to seek the Risen Lord at work in their midst. They saw and believed in the continuing presence of the Lord of love. All the empty and lonely places of human life are precisely where the Lord wishes to work and be revealed.

 

Station III: The Risen Lord Appears to Mary Magdalen, Apostle to the Apostles

"She turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?' She thought He was the gardener and said to Him, 'Sir, if you carried Him away, tell me where you laid Him, and I will take Him.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary!" She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni,’ which means Teacher. Jesus said to her, 'Stop holding on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to My brothers and tell them, 'I am going to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.' Mary of Magdalen went and announced to the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord,' and what He told her" (John 20: 14b-18).

In the fourth gospel, Mary Magdalen is given the mission to carry the good news of the resurrection to the apostles and the disciples. Mary had been in the company of Jesus and His followers, and is given the privilege to announce the hope of new life. She is known over the centuries as "the apostle to the Apostles." Jesus called her by name, gave her the eyes of faith, and called her to give a unique personal witness to her friends in the faith community.

 

Station IV: The Risen Lord Appears on the Road to Emmaus

"...It happened that while they were conversing and debating, Jesus Himself drew near and walked with them, but their eyes were prevented from recognizing Him.... And He said to them, 'Oh, how foolish you are! How slow of heart to believe all that the prophets spoke! Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and enter into His glory?' Then beginning with Moses and all the prophets, He interpreted to them what referred to Him in all the scriptures" (Luke 24: 15, 25-27).

The Emmaus road is the story of the Christian life. These disciples were walking away from Jerusalem and the apostolic faith community in defeat and dejection. They had lost hope. We too, have moments of despair and desolation. The Risen Lord Jesus accompanies us along the road, even when we are moving in the wrong direction. Only the Lord can "break open" the Word in order to help us understand the stories of our lives, especially suffering, and read them in harmony with the pattern of the Scriptures. Only the Lord can rekindle our energy and our resolve to devote ourselves to what is most important in life.

 

Station V: The Risen Lord is Recognized in the Breaking of the Bread

The Emmaus road is the story of the Christian life. These disciples were walking away from Jerusalem and the apostolic faith community in defeat and dejection. They had lost hope. We too, have moments of despair and desolation. The Risen Lord Jesus accompanies us along the road, even when we are moving in the wrong direction. Only the Lord can "break open" the Word in order to help us understand the stories of our lives, especially suffering, and read them in harmony with the pattern of the Scriptures. Only the Lord can rekindle our energy and our resolve to devote ourselves to what is most important in life.

The encounter on the road leads to the table, the breaking of the bread and the total gift of self. Recognition of the Risen Lord is always linked with the Eucharist. At the heart of our Christian life is this meal of Word and Eucharist which we celebrate every Sunday. The Risen Lord presides over all our journeys, wishing to set our hearts on fire in generous service to all people in need, near and far. The gift we have received is the gift we share. Humbly, we set out on the various roads of our lives to respond to all the hungers of the human family.

 

Station VI: The Risen Lord Appears to the Community of Disciples

"'Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts? Look at My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have,' And as He said this, He showed them His hands and His feet" (Luke 24: 38-40).

The disciples on the road to Emmaus quickly returned to the other disciples in Jerusalem with "burning hearts." Their despair had been reversed and they were eager to convince the others that Jesus was alive. Jesus the Christ is always eager to gather the community of disciples at the table of faith and to show them that He has risen with His wounds glorified. All our wounds will one day be glorified. We seek to understand how the Risen Lord invites us to be "wounded healers," recognizing now that the Lord desires us to be ambassadors of reconciliation, while we ourselves are being forgiven and healed.

 

Station VII: The Risen Lord Breathes Peace and Gives the Power to Forgive

"Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, 'Peace be with you'... The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, 'Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, so I send you.' And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, 'Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained'" (John 20: 19b, 20b-23).

Even though the doors of the Upper Room were bolted shut, the Risen Lord pierced through all fear and united the hearts of the disciples with the gift of peace. Deep inner peace is the root and source of the peace and joy that the world cannot give. The Risen Lord calls us to seek peace always through a non-violent commitment to conflict resolution and thus transform the world, relationship by relationship.

 

Station VIII: The Risen Lord Strengthens the Faith of Thomas

"Thomas…was not with them when Jesus came.... Thomas said, 'Unless I see the mark of the nails in His hands and put my finger into the nail marks and put my hand into His side, I will not believe'...Jesus came...and stood in their midst and said, 'Peace be with you.' Then He said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see My hands, and bring your hand and put it into My side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe'…Blessed are those who do not see and yet believe." (John 20: 24- 29).

The story of Thomas is important because it is through Thomas’ example that we realize that doubt can be a part of faith. Too easily we call him "Doubting Thomas,” and forgetting that after examining the nail marks, he fully embraced the Risen One as his Lord and Savior. Thomas' doubt was transformed into a lively faith. We too, are called to believe, knowing full well that our faith may be tested by doubt and fear. As disciples who desire an ever-deeper faith, we are patient and understanding with those who are struggling, searching and seeking like Thomas.

 

Station IX: The Risen Lord Eats with the Disciples on the Shore of Tiberias

"Jesus said to them, 'Bring some of the fish you just caught.' So Simon Peter went over and dragged the net ashore full of one hundred fifty-three large fish. Even though there were so many, the net was not torn. Jesus said to them, 'Come, have breakfast.' And none of His disciples dared to ask Him, 'Who are You?' because they realized it was the Lord" (John 21: 10-12).

After the crucifixion, the apostles returned to their former way of life. Out on the familiar Sea of Galilee, these expert fishers find themselves ineffective and baffled because not even a single fish was caught. From the shore, the Risen Lord guides them and directs their nets until they are filled to overflowing. As He prepares breakfast for them, He nourishes their hearts and promises them that they can also be fed by making disciples in His name. He calls them to an entirely new way of fishing—fishing for people.

 

Station X: The Risen Lord Forgives Peter and Entrusts Him to Feed His Sheep

"When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, 'Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?'... Peter was distressed that Jesus had said to him a third time, 'Do you love Me?' and he said to Him, 'Lord, You know everything, You know that I love You.' Jesus said to him, 'Feed my sheep.... Follow Me' " (John 21: 15, 17b, 19b).

The Risen Lord directs His attention to Peter whose embarrassing three-fold denial was still ringing in his heart. The questions posed by Jesus help Peter to find reconciliation and to embrace his new mission to tend and feed the sheep. Their encounter reminds us that forgiveness is always available, even for the most serious of mistakes we can make. This warm embrace of forgiveness strengthens our resolve to be reconcilers and healers in the Spirit of Jesus. Only love can overcome guilt and deception. Only love and forgiveness can make us whole.

 

Station XI: The Risen Lord Sends the Disciples into the World

"Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age" (Matthew 28: 19- 20).

From the mountaintop, the Risen Lord gives the "Great Commission" to the disciples to reach out to the ends of the earth. We realize that we are the recipients of this faith- filled mission: our ancestors embraced the faith of the apostles, who were the original witnesses of the resurrection. The greatest response we can give to such a legacy is our dedication to a new evangelization of our contemporary culture. We must allow the Risen Lord to reinvigorate our whole way of living, helping us to re-evaluate every aspect of our lives with the values of the Kingdom of God.

 

Station XII: The Risen Lord Ascends into Heaven

"So then the Lord Jesus, after He spoke to them, was taken up into heaven and took His seat at the right hand of God. But they went forth and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them and confirmed the word through accompanying signs" (Mark 16: 19-20).

The Scriptures do not portray the Ascension as a day of sadness. While still looking up at the skies, the disciples were consoled by the continuing presence of the Lord. They return to the familiar surroundings of the Upper Room, with Mary, the mother of the Lord, to pray in anticipation of their mission. In this "original novena," we continue to implore the Risen Lord to be the center of our lives and to keep us focused as a jubilant pilgrim people.

 

Station XIII: Mary and the Disciples Keep Vigil in the Upper Room for the Spirit's Advent

"When they entered the city, they went to the upper room where they were staying.... All [the apostles] devoted themselves with one accord to prayer, together with some women, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, and His brothers" (Acts 1: 13a, 14).

Throughout the history of the Church, there have been apostolic movements dedicated to prayerful contemplation, and others resulting in transforming action. As we have crossed the threshold into a new millennium, we look to the "Upper Room" as a symbolic place where we return over and over again, so that we can become "contemplatives in action." As persons who are both prayerful and energetic in service to the Gospel, we must always keep vigil for the advent of the Risen Lord, with the flame of faith alive in our hearts. Only the Lord can refresh our spirits and renew us in the ministries that flow from our Baptism and Confirmation.

 

Station XIV: The Risen Lord Sends the Holy Spirit

"... Suddenly there came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind, and it filled the entire house. Then there appeared to them tongues as of fire, which parted and came to rest on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different tongues, as the Spirit enabled them to proclaim" (Acts 2: 2-4).

The power of the Holy Spirit drives the disciples from the Upper Room into the streets and marketplace. The Spirit compels them to take the message everywhere, in places familiar and unfamiliar, not stopping until they reach the ends of the world. We have been clothed with the same Spirit. We are called to be evangelizers and witnesses, near and far, wherever we go. The Spirit always goes before us, preparing the way and strengthening our hearts to be generous servants of the Risen Lord who ever guides us. Pentecost is an enduring and continuing event. We implore the Holy Spirit to renew the face of the earth by renewing us.