The Second Sorrowful Mystery – THE SCOURGING AT THE PILLAR
Twice Pilate had said: “I do not find Him guilty of anything.” But the mob continued clamoring for the death of Jesus: “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” Then Pilate declared the third time: “I do not find Him guilty of any thing! I will chastise Him, therefore, and let Him go! “Therefore … ” The judge finds the Prisoner “not guilty,” and therefore he condemns Him to the brutal punishment of scourging! What a terrible miscarriage of justice!
That is the first reflection on this mystery of the scourging at the pillar. Our Lord allowed Himself to become the victim of mob rule, of calumny, of cowardly weakness on the part of a superior who should have defended Him. He wished to share here the sufferings of human beings who find themselves victims of similar injustice, and to give them the opportunity of ennobling their suffering by sharing it in tum with Him.
Then the scourging itself was a terrible shame and agony. Even the pagan Roman considered it so brutal that their law forbade it to be imposed on any Roman citizen. St. Paul was a Roman citizen, and once when he was condemned to be scourged, protested that it was illegal, and so escaped punishment.
But Our Lord, the King of Kings, allowed His subjects to impose this shame upon Him!
And then the agony of it! The Roman sol diers stripped Him and tied His hands around a pillar; then with leathern thongs tipped with leaden balls they lashed Him until His sacred Body was covered from neck to knees with ugly, bleeding welts. This agony He suffered to atone for sins against the holy virtue of purity. Lord, by the injustice, the shame, the torture of Thy scourging, teach me patience, humility, and holy purity!