FOURTH WEEK OF LENT: TUESDAY
The Insults which preceded the Crowning with Thorns
1st Prelude. Behold our Blessed Lord sitting on a block of wood, holding a reed in His hand, His head crowned with thorns and insulted by the guards of the Roman governor.
2nd Prelude. Beg for feelings of deep grief and compunction.
POINT I. The insults offered to Jesus.
CONSIDERATION. After the outrage of scourging, fearful insults were heaped upon our Divine Lord. Pilate’s soldiers, who had led Him to the court of Herod, were anxious that these insults should excel those offered to Him there. He had there been treated as a fool; they would now crown Him as a fool, as the king of fools; as says Holy Writ “taking Jesus into the hall, gathered together unto Him the whole band, and stripping Him, they put a scarlet cloak about Him, and platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon His head, and a reed in His right hand. And bowing the knee before Him, they mocked Him, saying: Hail King of the Jews! And spitting on Him, they took the reed and struck His head, and they gave Him blows.”
APPLICATION. If we carefully think over all the details, and even every word of this narrative, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, we shall see how truly the prophet Jeremias had foretold of the Messiah “He shall be filled with reproaches.” If we then ask ourselves “Who is it that is thus treated? For what reason?”, our hearts will surely burn with love.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. The terrible pain of the crowning with thorns.
CONSIDERATION. “And platting a crown of thorns, they put it on His head.” They not only placed it on His head, but pressed it in, by striking it on the top with a reed, as the Evangelist tells us. Conceive, if possible, the sufferings our Lord then endured. Why did He not sink beneath this additional torment, following so rapidly upon His scourging? Did He work a miracle to blunt the edge of His sufferings? No; but He exerted His miraculous power that He might not sink under sufferings which would have caused His death; so that no one else might ever suffer as He had done. And all this was for love of me!
APPLICATION. It was the will of our Divine Lord that His head, which had escaped the scourging, should also bear its distinct punishment, that He might expiate our sins of thought — the many thoughts and desires of pride, ambition, rebellion, hatred, vengeance, impurity, and injustice with which the heads of men are filled, so that they lose all thought of the presence and justice of God.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. The wonderful patience of Jesus.
CONSIDERATION. With what wonderful patience did our Blessed Lord bear these extraordinary insults and sufferings! His eyes were not bandaged now, as they were when in Herod’s court. They mocked Him as a prophet. He looked upon the insulting homage which one soldier after another offered Him in ridicule. He saw the spittle which they dared to throw in His face. He saw the arms of the insolent soldiers raised to strike Him; and yet He never moved His head to escape their blows. When they snatched the reed from His hand, He let them have it; when they gave it Him back again, He took it, fulfilling to the very letter the prophecy of Isaias: “I have not turned away My face from them that spit upon Me.”
APPLICATION. While we gaze upon this wonderful patience, we should remember our own impatience at the least contradiction. What ought we to think of our secret but eager desires for the praise and adulation of the world; of the resentment which enters and dwells in our hearts against those who have offended or looked down upon us? “If”, says the author of the Imitation, “Jesus covered with ignominy, was always before your minds, you would desire rather to be beneath the feet of all men, than to exercise superiority over any one.” We should, then, ardently long to be despised and to suffer for the love of Jesus. How far have we advanced in thus following the true disciples of our Lord?
COLLOQUY with our patient Lord.