“Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.”

The Good Friday liturgy (no Mass today — the only day of the year on which that occurs) brings us the Passion Narrative from John (18:1-19:42).  We start with the arrest of Jesus in the garden, His being taken off to see Annas (the father-in-law of the high priest), then after questioning to Caiaphas, then to Pilate in the praetorium who finds Him not guilty but offers Him or Barabbas to the crowd, followed by the scourging and crowning of Jesus, again questioning of the crowd by Pilate, His being sent away to be crucified, then speaking to His mother and John from the cross, His dying, and finally Jesus’ body being taken away and entombed by Joseph of Arimathea.  It is appropriate to remember this day the immense suffering that Jesus underwent on behalf of all mankind.  We do not point to the Romans or Jews of His time as His torturers and killers.  They were only instruments used to effect our salvation.  They were no more guilty than the rest of us.  Jesus underwent torment and death out of love for all persons.  Consequently, for love of Him, we do not want to add to His pain by sinning (even those “little” ones so easy for us to brush away but so abhorrent to God).  Rather, we should unite to His agony the small and large sufferings that we endure (cf. Col 1:24).  “We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you, because by your Holy Cross you have redeemed the world.”

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