Scripture Reading: Prayerfully read some or all of the following passages:
Context: Jesus was already so abused that He barely had the strength to walk, let alone to carry the heavy cross on which He would die. Sadly, none of His companions were near to assist. They had fled in fear and abandoned Jesus. Only His mother, Saint John and some holy women remained. As a result, the soldiers force a stranger, Simon the Cyrene, into labor to assist Jesus on the way.
Psalm 22 prophesied that the Messiah’s garment would not be torn but would be won by the casting of lots. Thus the soldiers cast lots for His seamless garment, His last earthly possession.
The soldiers offered Jesus wine mingled with myrrh to drink. This was used as an analgesic to help kill the pain. But Jesus rejected this, preferring to experience the full suffering of His saving action.
As Jesus was crucified, the abuse did not cease. People continued to mock Him and provoke Him. But He took it all with love, not letting their hateful darts affect Him.
Pilate had an inscription placed over Jesus’ head, which read “This is the King of the Jews.” Though this was an act of mockery on the part of Pilate, it was also a statement of the deepest truth. The true King had now mounted His throne of grace from which He would conquer death and decree the salvation of all who follow Him.
Reflection: Ponder the scene prayerfully using the following points if useful.
- The disciples of Jesus, those whom He cured, and those who had recently listened attentively to His every word had abandoned Him. He was now surrounded only by hate. Ponder the scene.
- Consider His physical exhaustion and inability to carry the cross alone. Imagine Simon being pressed into service. Walk with them, trying to understand this act of service to our Lord.
- Reflect upon the arrival at the hill, Golgotha. See the cruelty of the soldiers as they pound the nails into His flesh. Try to understand our Lord’s excruciating physical and spiritual pain.
- Though Jesus could have taken the wine and myrrh to alleviate the pain, He refused. Consider that divine decision and its consequences.
- Gaze at our Lord as He is lifted up. See the mockery of the sign above His sacred head. Listen to the violent hatred of those who continue to ridicule Him and spit at Him.
- Ponder the indifference of the soldiers as they ignore His pain and seek only to win His seamless garment.
- Conclude by simply gazing at our Lord with your imagination, trying to feel and experience the reality of this moment.
Featured Image: Giovanni Battista Tiepolo – Carrying the Cross
Introduction to Meditations for Lent
- Life Decisions and Resolutions
- Palm Sunday
- Leading up to Holy Thursday
- Last Supper
- Agony in the Garden
- Jesus is Arrested and Brought Before Annas
- Jesus is Brought Before Caiaphas
- Jesus is Brought Before Pilate
- Jesus is Brought Before Herod
- Second Trial by Pilate
- Jesus Carries His Cross and is Crucified
- Jesus Speaks From the Cross
- Jesus Dies on the Cross
- Jesus’ Body in the Arms of His Mother
- Jesus is Buried
- Holy Saturday