FIFTH WEEK OF LENT: TUESDAY
Jesus on Calvary — The Soldiers give Jesus Gall to drink, and strip Him of His garments.
1st Prelude. Imagine you see Jesus surrounded by His executioners, who strip Him of His garments.
2nd Prelude. Ask for grace to grow in the knowledge and love of Jesus.
POINT I. “And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary.”
CONSIDERATION. There are numerous mysteries connected with the place which our Lord chose for consummating His sacrifice: it was the spot where God commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac; where the Jews were accustomed to execute great criminals; and where, according to tradition, Noah buried Adam’s head, which he had taken in the Ark with him, the Hebrew word Golgotha signifying “chief” or “head.” The special mention of the place by the four Evangelists, of the Hebrew name Golgotha, instead of the Latinized Greek “cranium,” the place of Calvary, appears to give authority to the tradition always maintained by the Jews, according to the testimony of Tertullian, Origen, and St. Athanasius and the greater number of the Fathers.
APPLICATION. Let us meditate on these mysteries, for they are full of instruction. The sacrifice of Jesus, recalling to mind that of Abraham, should inspire us with love and gratitude to Him and His eternal Father, Who thus fulfilled the typical sacrifice of the great patriarch; next, Our Lord’s choice of the place used for the execution of criminals should remind us that He suffered for us criminals, for each one of us; and lastly, His dying on the spot where lie the ashes of our father Adam should show us how His death destroys the empire of death, and gives us a right to life eternal.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. “And they gave Him wine to drink, mingled with gall, and when He had tasted He would not drink.”
CONSIDERATION. It was the custom to give those condemned to death wine mixed with myrrh, either to strengthen them or to partly destroy their sense of feeling; but by a refinement of cruelty, gall was mixed with the wine given to our Lord. He took it; He tasted it; but, as the Gospel says, He would not drink.
APPLICATION. Why did Our Lord thus taste this bitter draught, and then refuse to drink it? He tasted it — 1st, to suffer in the sense of the taste, which His executioners had not been able to touch; 2ndly, to expiate our intemperance and sensuality in the use of food; 3rdly, to encourage us, after His example, to mortify our taste, or at least to resist our appetites, and never to exceed the bounds of religious temperance. On the other hand, He would not drink, because He would not in any degree assuage the sufferings which it was His will to endure to their utmost extent.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. Jesus stripped of His garments.
CONSIDERATION. The Roman law ordered that those condemned to be crucified should be stripped of their garments, thus adding shame to their other torments. Therefore Jesus, having tasted the bitter draught His executioners gave Him, was despoiled of His garments, which, by the weight of the cross, and His frequent falls, adhered so closely to His bleeding form that they could not be removed without opening His wounds, and causing Him fresh agony.
APPLICATION. Why did Our Lord will to suffer this fresh martyrdom of confusion and pain? To teach us, and to encourage us by His example, never to withdraw from any sort of shame, suffering, or privation, in His service should we even become a laughing-stock to the world, and be deprived of everything, like the dead man carried out to burial. This renunciation must be absolute in fact, or at least in affection. Jesus Christ requires it. He says “If any man will follow Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.” What should we think of the religious who dreads the ridicule with which the world treats his habit or his poverty, or the religious who tries to please the world by studying his appearance, as far as the little he possesses allows him?
COLLOQUY with our Blessed Lady.