Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Lent: Sorrowful Tuesdays

The third Sorrowful Mystery is the Crowning with Thorns. From this mystery we are supposed to gain the fruit of courage. Here is my take.

Jesus's executioners did not have to humiliate him as they did. The Romans were seemingly bloodthirsty though. Pilate's command to scourge Jesus followed by Hs crucifixion cemented the soldiers ideation that this is man was worthy of their worst. His stoic bearing of all their insults and assaults frustrated them into further grievous actions: crowning Him with thorns and mocking Him as "king of the Jews". How did He bear it?

In a word: courage. Jesus had great courage to suffer such indignities as He did. Through His sufferings, the Gospels only mention Jesus speaking or crying out a few times. After His scourging and crowning with thorns, He carried the cross-bar of his cross. However, He was able to converse with the women of Jerusalem and His Mother. Even after He was hung on the cross, He was capable of speaking to John and His Mother with clarity. Even His crying out had the purpose of fulfilling Scripture prophecy and announcing His death.

The Scriptures foretold much of Jesus's suffering. One reference from Isaiah has always confused me. Isaiah 53:7 says, "he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth." I've been around a lot of livestock; hardly ever are they quiet. Instead, in my experience, chaos and raucous sound rules the day. Surely Isaiah and other ancient people knew this as well as I do. So why this unusual statement? What does it mean?

When sheep are lead to slaughter or shearing, they cry out to communicate with one another. Members of the flock reassure one another with bleats. However, they do not plead with the tormentor for release verbally. Sheep trust their shepherd implicitly. Perhaps this is the similarity; Jesus trusted God the Father implicitly.

He did not beg the soldiers or Pilate for clemency. Pilate even remarks on His lack of communication in John 19:10-11. Jesus implies that God the Father is the one ultimately in charge. He spoke to His followers in such a way as to encourage or prophecy to them, not to save Himself. His courage stemmed from His acceptance of the Father's will. He had more ability than anyone to take Himself away from the suffering, as the people mocked Him (Luke 23:35-39). Instead, He courageously offered Himself for us.

Let me strive to be as courageous as He and face my paltry sufferings with grace. I is through Christ that I am capable of such redemptive suffering. It in imitation of Him that I offer my torments to redeem my soul and those of my intentions. Jesus, stay by my side to offer me the courage, grace, strength, and love to follow You. Amen.

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