“Then Pilate took Jesus, and scourged Him.” (John 19:1)
Pilate thought that, by scourging Jesus, he would satisfy the Jews and so be able to set Him free. This is how the weak always think: compromise, give in to evil so as to appease it. However, this only makes things worse.
The torturers bound His hands and brought Him to the pillar amidst blows, shoves, and laughter. His meekness, goodness, and willing unwillingness to defend Himself contrasted with the brutal, senseless, and cruel hatred. Oh foolish illusion that by tying His hands He would be immobilized! It would be enough for Him to say, “Cords, loosen,” and they would fall to the ground! Had He so wished, the cords could have also become serpents to attack His evildoers.
What is extraordinary is that He gave Himself up to be scourged. We can imagine His sweet groans. His Most Holy Body writhing in pain, His adorable flesh torn by the whip. This was the flesh of the God-Man! He stood, full of dignity, meek and without protest, conversing with the Eternal Father within Himself.
We can also imagine at that moment the Son of God, Supreme Governor of all events, thinking about the blessed civilization that would one day be built on the merits of His Passion. Alas, He also saw that at a certain moment the Christian nations would turn against Him and would be dominated by an anti-civilization. Because this world would deny a personal God, it would also deny man’s personhood and individuality.
In this flattened anti-civilization, mankind would affirm total equality, thus becoming enslaved to a rebellious communist utopia. This utopia would deny property, and therefore justice; would deny the family, and therefore purity; would deny religion, and therefore all that is sacred; would deny tradition, and therefore history. By inverting all values, this anti-civilization would produce a great chaos, a great vacuum in which the former-Christian peoples would drown. This anti-civilization is the tyranny of matter, of the machine, of anonymity, and of atheism — in a word, the reign of Satan.
Our Lord could have lamented like the prophet David: “What profit is there in my death . . . ?” (Psalm 30:9) What profit is there in my blood, which I shed so generously and so abundantly?
“And the soldiers weaving a crown of thorns, put it upon His head; and they put on Him a purple garment.” (John 19:2)
Our God, crowned with thorns! Does this not prove that God’s royalty is the royalty of pain? Let us accept suffering: suffering from humiliations; suffering from injustice; suffering from the untiring effort to do good; suffering from self-denial. To take suffering out of Christianity is to insult Christ Who accepted a crown of thorns. To be Christian and to be afraid of suffering for God is to reduce God to a mere banker who satisfies our every whim, or to a simple servant who serves us at our bidding. To eliminate suffering from Christianity is to remove its backbone.
Are we only fair-weather friends? Indeed, it is not Christian to be afraid to sacrifice ourselves for Christ, our greatest Friend. Let us not commit the felony of abandoning Jesus on Calvary. Let us not strike a blow to His face, wounded for love of us, by sinning. Let us not be heartless hyenas, but rather “meek, and humble of heart” as He. (Matthew 11:29)