Reflection on the Tenth Station By The Rev. Canon Jean Baptiste Ntagengwa
Dear Friends in Christ,
Today we are meditating on the Tenth Station of the Way of the Cross. Jesus is stripped of his garments. At the foot of the cross, soldiers drew lots to divide Jesus’ garments. He was stripped naked and stood exposed before the world. This was an act of humiliation par excellence; an attack on his moral dignity, his purity, and his manhood. And this, we are told, was all about to fulfill the scripture. In other words, He did it willingly. Stripping Jesus of his clothing proved that He was willing to sacrifice his humanity for our salvation. Eddie Cloer tells us that this public humiliation of re-moval of his veil of privacy and modesty was an aspect of martyrdom that the early saints dreaded the most. Surely, Jesus must have dreaded this act.
Back in 2017, a group of us from the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts traveled to Israel for a Holy Land pilgrimage. One of the activities we did the day before the last was that early in that morning we walked the “Way of the Cross.” As we were saying prayers related to the Station when Jesus was stripped of his garments my mind visualized all the sufferings and humiliations that He went through. At that moment, I realized how our salvation was bought by Jesus’ humiliation and degradation and not a glorious event. To save humanity, Jesus became like us in every aspect of true humanity and submitted himself to the worst types of torture and mental humiliation. My thought also drew closer all types of, mostly human-made, sufferings that are happening around the world: injustice, oppression, wars, and human displacements. I wondered about for how long that will continue.
Friends in Christ, during this time of Lent we are called to reflect on this saving act of Jesus. We are encouraged to think about its aim and meaning. We are urged to seek healings. We are asked to work towards the fulfillment of Jesus’ ultimate goal by praying and working for positive change. We are encouraged to support those organizations, such as Episcopal Migration Ministries, that are helping those who are suffering. And knowing that Jesus accepted to suffer for our salvation, we also are urged to pray for grace to accept joyfully the sufferings of the present time, confident of the glory that shall be revealed in due time. Amen.
Currently Canon for Immigration and Multicultural Ministries in the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, The Rev. Jean Baptiste Ntagengwa, Th.D. spent his early years in Rwanda, where much of his extended family still lives. His diverse career has included accounting, finance, and economics, academia, refugee resettlement, and case management, hospital chaplaincy, parish and diocesan-level ministry in Rwanda, Kenya, and Massachusetts. He and his wife Christine live in Everett and have three children, Jean-Fidele, Peace, and Moses and one grandson, Josiah.