“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 upon him, they took the reed, and struck his head.” (Matthew 27:28-30, Douay Rheims)
“And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary. And they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when he had tasted, he would not drink. And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots - that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: they divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots. And they sat and watched him.” (Matthew 27:33-36, Douay Rheims)
“And they bring him into the place called Golgotha, which being interpreted is, the place of Calvary. And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh; but he took it not. And crucifying him, they divided his garments, casting lots upon them, what every man should take.” (Mark 15:22-24, Douay Rheims)
“The soldiers therefore, when they had crucified him, took his garments, (and they made four parts, to every soldier a part,) and also his coat. Now the coat was without seam, woven from the top throughout. They said then one to another: Let us not cut it, but let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled, saying: They have parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture they have cast lots. And the soldiers indeed did these things.” (John 19:23-24, Douay Rheims)
Dear Lord Jesus, throughout this brutal journey, you freely chose to endure all the mocking, the pushing, the insults, the flogging, the whipping, the entire weight of the Cross, the cruelty of humanity…you were shamed and cast out…yet, you chose to remain silent…you chose solitude in the midst of the crazy chaos of the world. You feel the loneliness...no one stood up for you. No one seem to understand your message...
You took it upon yourself to carry every one of our sins, our indifference, our betrayals, our denials, our suffering, our poverty, our pride…this is the only way for you to bring meaning into this meaningless world…to bring love into this sin-stained world. If only there was an easier way.
“...Father, if thou wilt, remove this chalice from me: but yet not my will, but thine be done.” (Luke 22:42, Douay Rheims)
If only mankind were to repent, this whole journey to Golgotha, every step, every fall, would have been worth it…to redeem mankind from the fall from grace.
“…My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now my kingdom is not from hence.” (John 18:36, Douay Rheim)
Whilst the Father held the whole world in His hands, Jesus held the whole wooden Cross in His deep embrace. Drops of the precious Blood continue to absorb into the beams of the Cross and the excess, trickled to bless the ground of Golgotha. The journey was humiliating and agonizing for the Son of God, yet…
“…I tell you that this scripture must be fulfilled in me, namely, ‘He was counted among the wicked’; and indeed what is written about me is coming to fulfillment.” (Luke 22:37, NAB)
Nothing that has happened is mere coincidence or as a result of the conspiracy of mankind; everything that happened is contained in the Word of God and sustained by His Divine plan.
Jesus has arrived at the bloody grounds of Golgotha…the stench of death is everywhere…even the color of the ground is stained with blood and fragments of human bones. Jesus recalled the words of scripture from Ezekiel.
“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and brought me forth in the spirit of the Lord: and set me down in the midst of a plain that was full of bones.” (Ezekiel 37:1, Douay Rheims)
Jesus quietly pondered in His heart...
“...Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee: remove this chalice from me; but not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark 14:36, Douay Rheims)
The Roman executioners screamed at him, dragged and roughly stripped Jesus of His blood-stained garments; simultaneously tearing open the wounds yet again. They also grab the loin cloth woven by His mother. The soldiers divided and cast lots for the garments.
Jesus, thirsty and trembling from pain, is now stripped of whatever dignity that was left – exposed, unclad, empty, almost naked to the world…yet, Jesus, sinless, was not ashamed…Jesus had no need to hide…no need to be afraid…(unlike the first sinful Adam, in the Garden of Eden) Golgotha is no paradise...
“...(Adam said)...I heard thy voice in paradise; and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.” (Genesis 3:10, Douay Rheims)
As if, in vengeance, similar to the first Adam, cast out from the Garden of Eden, Jesus is now cast out from the holy city of Jerusalem to Golgotha.
Like the first Adam who ate from the ‘tree of life’, choosing the freedom to know what is good and evil, Jesus will soon be 'eaten' by the tree of death, stripped of everything…every freedom...every choice…emptying Himself completely to save us.
The soldiers, behaving worst than beasts continued to scourge His bare back…tearing and scattering bits of bloodied flesh all over the peak of Golgotha…‘purifying’ the altar of crucifixion…making it holy for the Son of God.
The women in the crowd continue to wail and cry. Jesus fell and landed heavily on His knees, staring at the crowd in deep sorrow, He wept because He loved them...a simple whisper...
This week of Lent, you have witnessed the bitter and humiliating description of Jesus being stripped of every piece of clothing. How sorrowful this must have been for the Son of Man.
Jesus will soon be mounted and executed in the most horrorful, shameful and painful manner - possessing nothing and yet, possessing everything because He is the Son of God.
Jesus, you freely tolerated the shameful mockery everybody made of you. Teach us this Lent, patience so that we too will learn to be humble; not behave arrogantly like the soldiers and the crowd. That we will always and freely make the better choice to follow you.
Strip us, Lord of our imperfections and slavery to the ways of the world. Strip us, Lord or our arrogance and judgemental ways. Help us develop a sense of peace and quiet deep in the center of our being where you reside.
Clothe us this Lent, with your garments of mercy and grace as you continue to walk with us each day. Grant that we will always choose not to ‘strip’ or ‘disfigure’ you, through the ways we live our lives and in the ways we treat others.