The Third Sorrowful Mystery – THE CROWNING WITH THORNS
There was far more than the crown of thorns to this sorrowful mystery.
“Stripping Him, they put a scarlet robe about Him.” His own clothes had been put on again after Our Lord’s scourging at the pillar. Now they were torn off once more, just when they were beginning to cling to His bloody flesh. What agony, and what shame before the mob of brutal soldiers! Then some cast-off scarlet robe, some torn dirty doormat of a rag from a corner of the barracks yard, was roughly yanked down over His Head and pulled about Him. Great sport for the soldiers, but unspeakable agony for Our Lord’s Body which was one quivering wound.
“And platting a crown of thorns, they put it on His Head.” Wearing their heavy gloves the soldiers beat a bunch of thorny branches into some kind of helmet and clamped it down violently on His Head. The thorns pierced the skin, and the Blood began to flow.
“And a reed in His right hand.” A stout stick or branch of wood from the campfire nearby was stripped of foliage and thrust into His hand. Jesus did not let it fall, but held it obediently, even when the soldiers let out a guffaw of derision at the sight.
“And bowing the knee before Him, they mocked Him, saying: Hail, King of the Jews!” This was great sport for the soldiers. Each sought to outdo the others in mocking buffoonery: “Hail, King of the Jews!” Bowing, genuflecting with mock solemnity, then falling back to roar with laughter at the meek Fool before them.
“And spitting upon Him.” This was the out rage Our Lord had often mentioned in predicting His Passion, as though He shrank from it with particular horror. “The Son of Man shall be spit upon . . . ” His sacred Countenance became the object of a very deluge of foulness which our minds almost refuse to contemplate.
“They took the reed and struck His Head.” It was not enough that the thorns were drawing blood already. Down rained the heavy blows to drive them deeper still. Our Lord must have been fairly blinded with pain as each rocking blow fell upon Him; but He made no protest. When one soldier finished His brutal work and handed the reed back to Him, He held it again while the crowd roared with mocking laughter, until another · seized it to strike Him again.
Jesus, meek and humble of Heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!