Introducing Rev. Jeff Loseke
I first heard Fr. Jeff when he was the pastor of Holy Trinity in Hartington, Nebraska. He is full of wisdom and has graciously agreed to post some of his insight for your benefit. In fact, this column marks the beginning of a weekly contribution by Father Jeff to Pelican’s Breast. Please spread the word!
Why Stations of the Cross Should be Part of Your Lenten Journey
When one examines the four Gospels in the New Testament, one cannot help but notice that within each account the Passion narrative is the most detailed part of the entire Gospel. In fact, the amount of space in each Gospel that is given to the three days of Jesus’ Passion (20%-30%) is inordinately disproportionate to the space given to all the preceding events that make up the other three years of His life. This tells us just how significant Jesus’ Paschal Mystery was to the faith of the Evangelists and the early Christian communities. More than all of His miracles, teachings, and parables, Jesus’ Passion stands out as the single most important thing He did on this earth.
The first Christians shared the account of Jesus’ Passion and death through the oral and written traditions in order to give subsequent generations the experience of being with Jesus as this great drama unfolded. This encounter with Jesus helped to personalize the love the Savior shared with us throughout His suffering and death. How much more important it is for us today, living some 2,000 years later, to make that personal connection with Jesus through meditation on the events that saved us.
The Stations of the Cross are an excellent way of not only retelling the story of Jesus’ Passion but also entering into dialogue with the One who gave Himself up for our sake. The Stations allow a person to make a spiritual pilgrimage along the path of Christ’s suffering without having to travel to the Holy Land itself. Each station hanging on the church wall marks a particular “place” on the road to Calvary where we are to move ourselves interiorly. This interior movement is the ultimate goal of the Stations: to bring us closer to Christ and to grow in our love for Him. Of Christ’s Twelve Apostles, only John the Beloved possessed the kind of passionate love that gave him the courage to walk the journey with the Virgin Mary alongside Jesus all the way to Calvary; the others either betrayed Him or fled in fear. I have good memories of attending the Stations of the Cross on Friday nights with my own mother when I was young, and so I extend a special invitation to each of you, especially to you who are parents with children: Try to take part in your local parish’s commemoration of the Stations of the Cross to walk with Jesus along the journey of His Passion and, in so doing, to experience the profound love He has for us.
The Reverend Jeffery S. Loseke is a Priest of the Archdiocese of Omaha and is currently the pastor of St. Charles Borromeo Parish in Gretna, Nebraska. Ordained in 2000, Fr. Loseke holds a Licentiate in Sacred Theology (S.T.L.) from the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome and is working to complete his doctoral degree (Ed.D.) in interdisciplinary leadership through Creighton University in Omaha. In addition to parish ministry, Fr. Loseke has served as a chaplain in the U.S. Air Force, taught high school theology and college-level philosophy, and has been a presenter for various missions, retreats, and diocesan formation days across the country.
Art: Simon pomaga Kristusu nositi križ; 19th Century (Wikimedia Commons)