The Sorrowful Mysteries

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Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary
(Recited on Tuesday and Friday)
1st Sorrowful Mystery- The Agony of Jesus in the Garden
   Background- The Trial of Jesus
2nd Sorrowful Mystery- The Scourging
3rd Sorrowful Mystery- Jesus is Crowned with Thorns
4th Sorrowful Mystery- Jesus Carries the Cross
5th Sorrowful Mystery- The Crucifixion of our Lord

The Agony of Jesus in the Garden

March 31 - April 1, 33/Nisan 12, 3793
Jesus’ Exodus begins

Our Father

And He came out and proceeded as was his custom over the ravine of the Kidron, to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed him ( Jn 18:1). They came to a garden, a place named Gethsemane; and He said to them: “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” ( Lk 22:40).

Jesus tells his disciples: "Stay here, while I go over there and pray." ( Mt 26:36). (HM-1)

Entering the garden with Peter, James, and John; Jesus says: "My soul is sorrowful unto death; remain here and watch with me."( Mt 26:38, Mk 14:34).

Jesus asked for prayer! Jesus also asked them to keep watch (likely so that He would not be surprised at the arrival of Judas). And He went a little beyond them, about a stone’s throw, and fell to the ground, praying, that if it were possible, the hour might pass him by. (HM-2)

Garden of Gethsemane
Jesus knew what was coming. He knew that he would be crucified and that it was required in order to complete the fulfillment of the sacrifice of the Pascal Lamb: in the first century A.D., the Passover lambs in the Temple were not only sacrificed; they were, so to speak, crucified. As the Israeli scholar Joseph Tabory has shown, according to the Mishnah, at the time when the Temple still stood, after the sacrifice of the lamb, the Jews would drive “thin smooth staves” of wood through the shoulders of the lamb in order to hang it and skin it (Mishnah:Pesahim 5:9). In addition to this first rod, they would also “thrust” a “skewer of pomegranate wood” through the Passover lamb “from its mouth to its buttocks” (Mishnah Pesahim 7:1). As Tabory concludes, “An examination of the rabbinic evidence … seems to show that in Jerusalem the Jewish paschal lamb was offered in a manner which resembled a crucifixion.” This conclusion is supported by the writings of Saint Justin Martyr, a Christian living in the mid–second century A.D. In his dialogue with a Jewish rabbi named Trypho, + Justin states: For the lamb, which is roasted, is roasted and dressed up in the form of a cross. For one spit is transfixed right through from the lower parts up to the head, and one across the back, to which are attached the legs of the lamb. +

Jesus knew that He would be scourged and He would be crowned with thorns. Jesus had undoubtably carried a crucified Paschal Lamb from the Temple and had seen men crucified by the Romans. Jesus knows what is coming and stress is building.

His sweat becomes as drops of blood falling to the ground ( Lk 22:44). That is a medical condition called hematidrosis brought on by extreme stress. Hematidrosis causes the sweat glands to rupture making the sweat bloody and causes the onset of traumatic shock. Traumatic shock is the body’s self-destruct mechanism, wherein the air spaces in the lung (alveoli) rupture and the air tubes (bronchi) spasm. The ruptured alveoli can no longer oxygenate the blood. The lungs begin to fill with the fluid from the ruptured cell tissue. This will, if the stress and/or pain does not cease, ultimately cause the individual to “drown” ... in cell tissue. (HM-3)

Fear that is anguish based on the unknown, is from the devil. Jesus does not fear his passion; because the torment is not unknown. He knows exactly what is coming and that knowledge is causing the stress. ...

Jesus was praying, “Abba! Father! All things are possible for You; remove this cup from Me; yet not what I will, but what You will”( Mk 14:36).

That cup was the 4th cup, the “Cup of Acceptance”, that He had omitted from the Seder meal: the cup He would drink from the cross. Jesus came back to where He had left Peter, James, and John and found them sleeping.

He said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep watch for one hour?” ( Mt 26:40).“Keep watching and praying ... that you may not come into temptation; the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 

He went away again a second time and prayed, saying, “My Father, if this cannot pass away unless I drink it, your will be done.” 

Again, He came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy, and they did not know what to answer him.  He left them again, and went away and prayed a third time, saying the same thing once more( Mk 14:42-44). This time an Angel came to console him ( Lk 22:43).

Three times He is tempted and all three times He turns to his father. All three times He submits his will to his father’s will. He chooses three times to undergo torture and death! “There is no greater love than to lay down your life for a friend.” ( Jn 15:13).

Jesus’ suffering was in reaction to the Devil’s temptations. Remember that at the beginning of his ministry Jesus went out into the desert and remained forty days. At the end, when He was weakest, the devil came and tempted him three times. Then it says: "And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time." ( Lk 4:13) and in Matthew it says "Then the devil left him and behold angels came and ministered to him" ( Mt 4:11).

It is now the opportune time: the devil came to show Jesus exactly what He was going to suffer causing the onset of traumatic shock. “The effects of the hematidrosis, and the severe anxiety associated with it, are weakness, depression, mild to moderate dehydration, and mild hypovolemia (low blood and fluid volume) due to sweat and blood loss — all of which would have greatly weakened Jesus prior to His crucifixion.” + The angels ministrations fortified him against what was about to happen.

Jesus came back to the apostles the third time and found them sleeping from sorrow (Lk 22:45), and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough; the hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners.  Get up, let us be going; look, the one who betrays Me is at hand!” (Mk 14:43-46).

The sleeping disciples had exhausted themselves in fear of what might be coming. Jesus lets them know they are not supporting him; but He is gentle about it. He understood. (HM-4)

Now Judas, who was betraying him, also knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with his disciples. Judas then, joined by the temple guards, their officers, servants of the priests (who were sent by the chief priests), and the elders of the people, came there with lanterns, torches, swords and clubs (Jn 18:1-3, Mt 26:47). The group are all Jews, they have all heard of Jesus, and they know that Jesus is a great prophet. They are very hesitant to come forward being familiar with the story of King Ahaziah’s attempt to arrest Elijah: two captains and their groups of 50 men sent by King Ahaziah were destroyed by fire at the word of the prophet. (2Kng 1:9-15)

Now Judas had given the crowd leaders a signal, saying, “Whomever I kiss, He is the one; seize him and lead him away under guard.” 

Upon arriving, Judas immediately went to Jesus, saying, “Rabbi!” and kissed him.

Jesus said to him: “Friend, why are you here? (Mt 26:50) Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?” (Lk 22:48)

The crowd is afraid of Jesus. Jesus, knowing all the things that were coming upon him, then steps forward right in front of the crowd, asking: “Whom do you seek?”

They answer: “Jesus of Nazareth”.

Jesus responds: “I AM.” ...

At Jesus’ response, the ones in front, in fear at both Jesus’ use of God’s name and the boldness of Jesus stepping toward them, take a step back, thinking of the fire of Elijah. The step back causes them to fall over those in the back of the crowd who were still moving forward.

After they get back to their feet, Jesus asks again: “Whom do you seek?”

When they reply, Jesus answers: “I told you ‘I AM’; if you seek me, let these men go.” This was to fulfill the word which He spoke: “Of those whom You have given Me, I lost not one.” (Jn 18:4-9). (HM-5)

Meanwhile Peter has jumped up, drawn a sword, and cut off the ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave (Jn 18:10).

Jesus calls out: “No more of this!”(Lk 22:51).

Jesus then said to Peter: “Put your sword back into its sheath. For all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and He will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions + of angels? How then will the Scriptures be fulfilled which say that it must happen this way? ... (Mt 26:52-54). Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (Jn 18:11").

Jesus was being arrested and his focus remained on the cup of acceptance!(HM-6)

Notice that while Jesus was stopping Peter and curing Malchus nobody in the crowd reacted to Peter’s attack. ... Apparently, no one wanted to be the first aggressor toward the prophet! (HM-7)

Jesus healed Malchus (Lk 22:49-51) and saw to it that his disciples were not also taken (Jn 18:8-9). The crowd has been attacked by Peter and yet they were so afraid of Jesus that even though Jesus made it easy for them: “No one takes my life from me” (Jn 10:18). They did exactly as Jesus has said: after all, they just watched Jesus re-attach an ear and heard Jesus tell Peter he has access to 60,000 angelic warriors (the sources of the fire that consumed the two captains and the 100 men).(HM-8)

And Jesus said to the chief priests + and officers of the temple [guard] and elders who had accompanied the crowd, “Have you come out with swords and clubs to arrest Me, as you would against a robber? I sat teaching in the Temple day after day and you never laid a hand on me.” (Mt 26:55, Lk 22:52) ; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours.” (Lk 22:53)

And the disciples all left him and fled. (HM-9)

So, the temple guards, the commander, and the officers of the Jews arrested Jesus, bound him, and led him to Ananus first (Jn 18:13); for he was father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year. Now Caiaphas was the one who had advised the Jews that it was expedient for one man to die on behalf of the people. (Jn 18:14)

Simon Peter was following Jesus, and so was another disciple. Now that disciple was known to the high priest. He entered with Jesus into the court of the high priest,but Peter was standing at the door outside. So, the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the doorkeeper, and brought Peter in.

Then the slave-girl who kept the door said to Peter, “You are also one of this man’s disciples, aren’t you?”

He said, “I am not.”

Now the slaves and the officers were standing there, having made a charcoal fire, for it was cold and they were warming themselves; and Peter was also with them, standing and warming himself. (Jn 18:15-18) He then sat down with the officers to see the outcome (Mt 26:58).

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples, and about his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world; I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together; and I spoke nothing in secret. Why do you question me? Question those who have heard what I spoke to them; they know what I said” ... (Jn 18:19).

When He had said this, one of the officers standing nearby struck Jesus, saying, “Is that the way You answer the high priest?” ...   (Jn 18:22)

Jesus answered him,“If I have spoken wrongly, testify of the wrong; but if rightly, why do you strike Me?”(Jn 18:19-23)

So, Ananus, once he received word that a quorum of the Sanhedrin was assembled at Caiaphas’ palace, had Jesus bound and then sent to Caiaphas the high priest (Mt 26:67, Mk 14:53, Jn 18:24). +

Simon Peter again followed the crowd as it moved to the high priest’s palace. There was a fire there also, so, Peter stood beside it warming himself. One of the slaves of the high priest, being a relative of the one whose ear Peter cut off, said: “Did I not see you in the garden with him?”

Peter denied it again, and immediately a rooster crowed.

And after a little while the bystanders were again saying to Peter: “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean too.”

But he began to curse and swear: “I do not know this man you are talking about!”

While Peter was still speaking, the cock crowed a second time and Jesus turned and looked straight at Peter. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark to him: “Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times.” And he went outside and wept bitterly.(Mt 26:69-75, Mk 14:66-72, Lk 22:54-62, Jn 18:15-18 & 25-27). If Peter denies Jesus when under stress; how much more, should I be praying not to undergo a test? (HM-10, GB, OMJ)

Reflections on the Agony in the Garden

Can you not spend one hour with me?
The surest way to fall asleep is to start a rosary. It is far better than any sleeping pill. If I focus on just praying the Hail Mary’s I can usually get through the rosary but that isn’t what the rosary is about. We are asked to think about the Mysteries while we say the Hail Mary’s. During your agony in the garden you asked for prayer and everyone fell asleep. I am willing to try but without your help I can’t stay awake either. My mind wanders over all the events of the day just passed and the day to come. My focus shifts from you to me. Even you asked your Father to find another way to do what you knew had to be done, but you then said “Your will be done”. Lord I know that if I submit to your will everything will turn out for the best but it is so hard to trust. It is so hard to surrender to you, to stop trying to control everything. Your will is usually that I grow up and growing up usually hurts! Lord thank you for the Holy Spirit. Ask him to give me the knowledge to see your will, the wisdom to understand what I need to do, and the fortitude to stay awake and face the growth I need to make to learn to love as you love.

Jesus loves in spite of our betrayals?
Did Jesus love Peter any less because he denied him? Jesus knew Peter would do it and simply asked Peter to care for his church. Did Jesus love Zacchaeus or Matthew any less because they were tax collectors. Jesus loves me as I am but because He loves me, He calls me to become something more. He calls me to become what God intended for me. Mary help me to understand your son. Teach me to respond to that kind of love. Help me to learn to love as Jesus loves, so I too can help to bring others to your son.

Do I judge others or let love trump the law? Jesus, you are to be the judge but when you encountered sinners you didn’t judge them you loved them, healed them and then told them to go and sin no more. If you won’t judge how can I. Help me to see you in everyone I meet. Each person is precious to you. You have created each for a unique purpose. Help my encounter with each person to further each along the path to fulfilling your plan for them.

The final temptations
After Jesus’ Baptism, He went out into the desert, where he was tempted by the devil. He underwent three temptations:
  1. To turn stones into bread – a temptation to use his power for himself.
  2. To throw himself from the pinnacle of the temple – a temptation to force God to miraculously save him, thus providing a huge spectacular sign making it easy to get the awe of the people.
  3. To worship the devil – a temptation to shortcut the whole thing and become king of all.
After Jesus rebuked the devil, he left Jesus to return at a more opportune time. Jesus was then consoled by an angel. Now here in the Garden as Jesus contemplates his immediate future it is the opportune time and once again Jesus is tempted three times. Jesus prays three times Lord remove this cup from me but not my will. Your will be done! And once again after the third temptation an angel came to console him.What were those three temptations? Think about it. I don’t know but my guess would be:

  1. Is death really necessary?
  2. Use your power to eliminate the pain.
  3. Come down from the cross and there by claim your victory over death.
What do you think?

The Trial of Jesus

The Trials of Jesus before the Sanhedrin
The Jews had a great regard for life. When there was a capital offense, two trials were required before someone could be condemned to death. The second trial began the day following the first trial and had to start over from scratch. Only when someone had been condemned twice was he executed. The book of Daniel describes what was supposed to happen when someone was condemned: Suzanna was tried and found guilty on the basis of two witnesses. But because someone spoke up in her defense on the way to her execution, they rushed back to re-try her, even though the someone was a young boy (Dn: 13:28-62). If you look carefully at the Gospels three of them mention that Jesus was taken before the Sanhedrin in the morning (the second trial.) In fact, while John only describes events at Ananus’ house, Matthew and Mark describe the first trial at Caiaphas’ palace, and Luke describes the second trial.

There is an ongoing debate about the legality of the trial of Jesus. There are those who maintain that Jesus was tried as a Mesith. A Mesith is a someone who subverts the nation by causing the people to worship some other god. Such an individual is tried without any of the benefits of, or protection normally provided the accused under the law. For this to be the case Jesus would have had to be found guilty under the law of that charge. Pilate said to the Jews: “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion (sounds like a Mesith), and behold, having examined him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against him. No, nor has Herod, for he sent him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by him”. (Lk 23:13-15) That statement may imply the Jesus was found guilty of being a Mesith; but the charge was both ludicrous and irrelevant so that both Pilate and Herod ignored it. However, Jesus was also tried and condemned for blasphemy; as Pilate was told: “We have a law and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God” (Jn 19:7).

What likely happened was that the Sanhedrin originally intended to try Jesus as a Mesith. His arrest and trial would only be legal if He was tried as a Mesith. The witnesses kept contradicting each other so that after several hours they had nothing on which to condemn Jesus as a Mesith. So, as Matthew states: “Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward” (Mt 26:59-60). Thus, they failed to be able to condemn him as a Mesith. Then Caiaphas used a double meaning to trap Jesus.

Caiaphas knows the Christ (Messiah) was to be a son of David: which made him a “son of God” as all the Davidic kings were sons of God by adoption. The high priest puts Jesus under oath (Jesus must answer) and since Caiaphas knows that Jesus is in fact the Messiah he knows that Jesus will answer in the affirmative. Now for the high priest to put Jesus under oath and demand the answer to his question should have had the whole proceeding thrown out but the trial has begun as a trial for a Mesith for which that could actually be considered legal if they condemned Jesus as a Mesith. When Jesus responds Caiaphas tore his garment. Many scholars claim that the tearing of Caiaphas’ garment was illegal (Lev 21:10) and invalidated his role as High Priest. However, the restriction only applies to when he is in the temple wearing his ceremonial robes, which was not the case here. Even then the violation would only have had him publicly scourged not relieved of his office. Caiaphas screamed “blasphemy!” Because everyone heard Jesus’ response they are now all witnesses to what they are calling blasphemy.

Caiaphas has suddenly changed tactics to charge and condemn Jesus for blasphemy. Since the members of the Sanhedrin who are present are now all witnesses to the blasphemy, they have no problem finding Jesus guilty of that charge. However, the charge of blasphemy requires two trials with one on the next day to support condemnation. By rationalizing the use of the Temple calendar, they can have the second trial later in the morning at which they will condemn Jesus to death (Mt 27:1, Mk 15:1, Lk 22:66).

Jewish law provided that a final decision for acquittal could come on the first day but a decision for condemnation could only come after a 2nd trial on the next day, except in the case of a trial for a Mesith. Blasphemy is of course a crime against the Temple, but since it requires a second trial rather than wait another day they rationalized the use of the Temple calendar: after all Blasphemy is a crime against the Temple.

While the Israelites measured the day from sunset to sunset, the Temple measured it from sunrise to sunrise. The difference was due to the serving priests’ need to finish the sacrifices that were still in process after sunset. The change in serving priest occurred at sunrise. Needing two trials, on successive days, to legally condemn Jesus to death; they rationalized the days based on the temple day since the first trial ended before sunrise and the charge was now blasphemy.

Many of the events of the trials, provided us by the Evangelists, were provided because the described events or interactions, rendered the trials invalid and should have resulted in the acquittal and release of Jesus. Some examples:
  1. Questioning the accused by Ananus. Note that Jesus said to Ananus: “Why do you question me?” ( Jn 18:19). It was illegal to do so!
  2. Striking the accused  (Jn 18:22).
  3. Capital cases are to begin with the case for the defense. +
  4. Only in a trial for a Mesith does it begin with the case for the prosecution. They began as a trial for a Mesith and did not start over when they had failed to convict, and tactics changed.
  5. They never had the case for the defense at either trial.
  6. The High Priest questioned Jesus (Mk 14:55). Talmudic law prohibits direct questioning of the defendant. The Talmud indicates that a man does not belong only to himself; just as he has no right to cause physical harm to others, so he has no right to inflict injury on himself. This is why it was determined that the confession of the defendant had no legal consideration. This rule, which has its own formal substantiation, served courts for centuries as a powerful weapon against attempts to extract confessions by force or persuasion. Not only can no man be forced to incriminate himself through his own testimony, but self-incrimination has no significance and is unacceptable as evidence in court. + That Caiaphas sought such a confession from Jesus, even to the point of placing him under oath, is ordinarily seen as nullifying the proceedings. +
  7. At face value, Caiaphas’ statement that we have no further need of witnesses, should have also invalidated the trial. Mishnaic law specifies the need for two or three qualified witnesses agreeing as to what had been seen or heard. + However Caiaphas may have been referring to the fact that all the assembled members of the Sanhedrin are witnesses to the blasphemy.
  8. In capital cases the Sanhedrin was not allowed to render a unanimous verdict of guilty + , yet we are told “they all condemned him as deserving death”(Mk 14:64)
  9. The trial in the morning before the Sanhedrin was the second trial on the charge of Blasphemy  (Mt 26:65, Mk 14:63-64). There was no case for the defense, they directly interrogated the defendant, and they unanimously found Jesus guilty.

The Trials before the Sanhedrin
At Caiaphas’ palace the Sanhedrin first condemned Jesus to death.To condemn Jesus required a trial on two successive days. ... Matthew and Mark describe the first trial.

Now the chief priests and the whole Council kept trying to obtain false testimony against Jesus, so that they might put him to death. They did not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward.

But later on, two came forward, and said: “This man stated, ‘I am able to destroy the temple of God and to rebuild it in three days.’” 

The high priest stood up and said to Jesus: “Do You not answer? What is it that these men are testifying against You?” 

But Jesus kept silent (Mt 26:59-62).

During that first trial, various false witnesses have come forward but their testimony is conflicting, finally, two witnesses actually agree and Jesus ignores them. In frustration, the high priest said to Jesus: “I adjure you by the living God, tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God.” (Mt 26:63). +

Not able to convict Jesus with false witnesses,Caiaphas uses a double meaning to trap Jesus. Caiaphas knows the Christ (Messiah) was to be a son of David: which made him a “son of God” as all the Davidic kings were sons of God by adoption. The high priest puts Jesus under oath (Jesus must answer) and since he knows that Jesus is in fact the Messiah he knows that Jesus will answer in the affirmative.

Jesus acknowledges that He is the Messiah and the Son of God: “You have said so” [what you say is true], and then He provides two Messianic quotes: “but I tell you: from now on you will see the ‘Son of Man seated at the right hand of the Power’ (Ps 110:1) and ‘coming on the clouds of heaven’ (Dn 7:13)(Mt 26:64). ...

The high priest tore his robes + and accuses Jesus of blasphemy: claiming to be the “Son of God” (Mt 26:65). Caiaphas thinks he has trapped Jesus. They all agree he deserves to die: the first trial. +

Although striking the accused was illegal under Jewish law, the soldiers felt free to strike Jesus once He has been condemned. Now that they are safe, no fire has come down from heaven, they are repaying Jesus for the fear they had felt earlier. The men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him and beating him, and they blindfolded him and were asking him, saying, “Prophesy, who is the one who hit You?” And they were saying many other things against him, blaspheming (Lk 22:63-65). The scribes and priest in their hatred of Jesus make no attempt to stop them. ( Mt 26:67-68, Mk 14:65, Lk 22:63-65, Jn 18:22).

Later the same morning the Great Sanhedrin met as was normal on Wednesday. The Great Sanhedrin met daily. It did not meet on the Sabbath, festivals, or festival eves. + Friday would be a festival eve. Jesus could not have been taken before the Sanhedrin on Friday! During the Wednesday morning meeting, the Sanhedrin held the second trial required to put a man to death ( Mt 27:1, Mk 15:1, Lk 22:66).

Luke’s account of the trial is an account of the second trial. During that trial, they didn’t bother with the witnesses they get directly to the point: they said: “If you are the Messiah, tell us.”

Jesus replied to them: “If I tell you, you will not believe, and if I question you, you will not respond. But from this time on the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”

They all asked: “Are you the Son of God, then?” (Lk 22:70).

To which Jesus answers: “You say that I am.”

Then they said: “What further need have we for testimony? We have heard it from his own mouth.” ... (Lk 22:66-71).

The Scourging

– April 2, 33/ Nisan 13, 3773
He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed."(Is 53:5)

Our Father
Jesus was taken to Pilate later Wednesday morning. The Jews intended for him to die Wednesday or Thursday thereby avoiding the Temple Passover Festival. They could not allow his disruption of temple commerce to go unpunished, thereby undermining the authority of the priests. They led Jesus to the Praetorium, but the Scribes and priest did not enter so that they would not become un-clean (Jn 18:28). Therefore, Pilate went out to them and said: “What accusation do you bring against this Man?”

They answered and said to him: “If this Man were not an evildoer, we would not have delivered him to you” (Jn 18:29-30).

So, Pilate said to them: “Take him yourselves, and judge him according to your law.”

The high priest then informs Pilate that they have found Jesus guilty of a capital crime under their law and have thus condemned him to death. By Roman law, they cannot execute Jesus, so they are asking Pilate to execute him. The Jews said to Pilate: “We are not permitted to put anyone to death,” to fulfill the word of Jesus which He spoke, signifying by what kind of death He was about to die (Jn 18:31and to fulfill the prophecy of Caiaphas that is was better for one man to die…(Jn 18:14) (HM-1)

Pilate informs the Jews that under Roman law they do not condemn a man without first examining him.

Pilate takes Jesus inside and bluntly asks: "Are you a king of the Jews?"(Mt 27:11, Mk 15:2, Lk 23:3, Jn 18:33).

Jesus answers: “Do you say this on your own or have others told you about me?” Jesus wants to clarify for Pilate that this was a claim made by the Jews not by Rome.

Pilate answered: “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me. What have you done?” (Jn 18:35).

Jesus responds:“I am a King, but my kingdom, [the Kingdom of God], is not of this world.”

Jesus then points out his kingship is non-violent thus no threat to Rome: “If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants [would] be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is my kingdom is not here.”

Pilate said to him: “Then you are a king?”

Jesus answered: “You say I am a king. For this I was born [as a first-born male in a stable used for the paschal lambs, inspected by the Levitical shepherds, and found without blemish, thus qualified for the paschal sacrifice: for his crucifixion. He was born the Lamb of God! He was also just selected by the people, on lamb selection day, as the Paschal Lamb for this Passover!] and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. [Jesus’ message, the truth, is the Kingdom of God]. Everyone who belongs to the truth [the Kingdom of God] listens to my voice.”

Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:33-38).

Little does Pilate know that before him stood the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Jn 14:6). (HM-2)

After examining Jesus, Pilate realized that Jesus was innocent of everything but being hated by the high priest. Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds: “I find no guilt in this man” (Lk 23:4).

But they kept on insisting, saying: “He stirs up the people, teaching all over Judea, starting from Galilee even as far as this place” ( Lk 23:5).

When Pilate heard that, he asked whether the man was a Galilean. And when he learned that Jesus belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time (Lk 23:6-7)

Jesus was probably taken to Herod Wednesday afternoon.  Herod was delighted to see Jesus for he had wanted to see him for a long time, because he had been hearing about him and was hoping to see some sign performed by him. Herod interrogated Jesus at length (Lk 23:8-9) trying to get him to work a miracle but he failed to get Jesus to even respond to him.

The chief priests and the scribes were standing there, accusing him vehemently. And Herod, with his soldiers, after treating him with contempt and mocking him, dressed him in a gorgeous robe and sent him back to Pilate Wednesday evening.

Now Herod and Pilate became friends with one another that very day; for before they had been enemies with each other (Lk 23:10-11).

Herod had killed John the Baptist; he was not about to kill another prophet. He would leave that to Pilate.

Jesus was likely held overnight under guard near the praetorium. Dressed in an expensive robe and not yet judged by Pilate, the soldiers would have showed him some respect.

In the meantime, Pilate had gone home and tells his wife about the holy man the high priest wants to have executed. They conclude the priests are envious of Jesus (Mk 15:10). (HM-3)

On Thursday morning upon arrival at the praetorium Pilate finds that Jesus has been returned by Herod and the Jewish leaders are back demanding his execution before the Friday festival. But Pilate can "find no guilt in him." (Lk 23:4, Jn 19:4-6). Pilate needs to identify a capital offense if he is to condemn Jesus.

Pilate summoned the chief priests and the rulers of the people: He tells the Jews that there is no capital offense; that even Herod found him innocent of any capital crime (Lk 23:13). “You brought this man to me as one who incites the people to rebellion, and behold, having examined him before you, I have found no guilt in this man regarding the charges which you make against him. No, nor has Herod, for he sent him back to us; and behold, nothing deserving death has been done by him. Therefore, I will punish him and release him.” (Lk 23:13-16) (HM-4)

A messenger then interrupts as Pilate’s wife has sent him a note. The note tells him: “ Have nothing to do with the holy man for I have suffered much over him today in a dream.” (Mt 27:19).

Pilate wants to figure out how to save Jesus. He thinks that a solution may be to appeal to the crowd: for he knows that the priests fear the crowds (Mk 12:12). If he has Jesus scourged, then maybe the Jews’ envy will be satisfied and they will stop demanding that He be crucified. Pilate realizes that he needs to satisfy their envy or releasing Jesus will just cause the priests to find another way to kill him.

A scourging should also elicit sympathy from the crowds. Pilate may then be able to release Jesus on Passover as the festival prisoner release.  Pilate announces that he is having Jesus scourged (Lk 23:16,Jn 19:1). (HM-5)

Pilate informed the soldiers that they should not kill Jesus because he wants to release him Friday. Jesus was likely scourged Thursday afternoon. The scourging was done by two men each using a flagellum. The lead balls on the leather strips were made to bruise and at the same time to tear the skin. (HM-6)

While Jewish law restricted the number of blows in a scourging to 39 (Deut 25:3), Roman law had no such restriction. The objective of the soldiers was to mark his entire body below his head ... Looking at Jesus on the Shroud we can see that they succeeded.

A member of the team that studied the shroud in 1978 counted the markings: 124 lashes. The shroud image as shown in this document (following the Sorrow Mysteries) is in black and white, it is yellow and brown on the original. But consider the black and blue bruising on his body that resulted from each of the strokes of the flagellum! With each stroke, 6 lead balls traveling more than a hundred miles an hour (161 kilometers an hour) strike his body! ... Anywhere, below his neck, that was not bleeding was bruised. (HM-7)

The scourging beginning at the ankles and moving up to the shoulders would cause penetration of the skin (bleeding) with trauma to the nerves, muscles, and skin; reducing the victim to an exhausted condition, with shivering, severe sweating, frequent seizures, and a craving for water. + When they finished, Jesus was bleeding or black and blue from his ankles to his shoulders.

Those who died from scourging died from traumatic shock that was accelerated by blows of the lead balls to the chest. Traumatic shock causes the rupture of the alveoli in the lungs ... Direct blows to the chest bruises the ribs and physically damages the alveoli, thereby accelerating the progress of traumatic shock. If you compare the ventral and dorsal images of the Shroud, (shown following the Sorrowful Mysteries), you should notice that there were fewer blows to the chest. That was required to keep Jesus alive as requested by Pilate. That there are intersecting blows to the chest from both the right and the left shows that Jesus was upright: scourging was not at a pillar. He may have been tied to two pillars but the scourging covered both the front and the back. Neither did the soldiers want to stop to pick Jesus up every time his legs collapsed. (HM-8)

“He was flogged across the back, chest, and legs with a multifaceted flagrum with bits of metal on the ends. Over and over again the scorpiones dug deep into the flesh, ripping small vessels, nerves, muscles, and skin. The weight of the scorpiones carried the leather thongs to the front of the body, ripping the flesh there as well. His body became distorted with pain, causing Him to fall to the ground, only to be jerked up again. Seizure like activities occurred, followed by tremors, vomiting, and cold sweats. Screams echoed out at the conclusion of each stroke. [The beating with the lead weights on each of the straps did severe damage to the lungs, kidneys, liver, and spleen.] His mouth was dry and His tongue stuck to the roof of His mouth. He was reduced to a wretched state because Pilate wanted to appease the mob so they would not demand that he be crucified.” +

A detail examination of the Shroud of Turin shows the marks from the scourging are very distinct. They are not obscured by blood. It has thus been established that Jesus’ body was washed prior to burial and that the bloodshed from the scourging was washed off: + thus, Jesus could not have been scourged on Friday!

After the scourging, Jesus was likely placed in a dry cistern 12 to 15 ft. deep with smooth sides. Jesus was lowered into the cistern with a rope looped around his chest and pulled up to his arm pits. The cistern had no sewage facilities causing Jesus to spend the night standing in sewage with the other criminals. (HM-9)

Meanwhile that evening Pilate sent a message to the priests, summoning them to the praetorium on Friday morning to resolve the issue of Jesus (Lk 23:13). Had Pilate not ordered the priest, they would not have come back until at least Monday. The priests didn’t want to execute Jesus on Friday or Saturday because of Passover and Sunday was the Feast of First Fruits. It was not religious conviction that would deter them but rather the fear that the crowds from the rest of Judea and Galilee, who loved and admired Jesus, would riot (Mk 14:2).

When they were summoned by Pilate on Thursday evening, the high priest realized that Pilate would attempt to release Jesus to the crowds on Friday. So, the high priest ordered everyone to pass the word to be at the praetorium in the morning and that the priests wanted [Jesus] Barabbas released (Mk 15:11). They didn’t even need to mention Jesus the Nazarene. (HM-10, GB, OMJ)

Reflections on the Scourging

He gave him no answer
Jesus responded to the Jews and Pilate’s questions but not to Herod. “He gave him no answer” (Lk 23:9).

Two wrongs don’t make a right; it identifies a coward
Pilate knew that you were guiltless. He knew that the high priest out of envy sought your death. Rather than respond like Gallio (Acts 18:12-17); Pilate sought to placate the Jews by having you scourged and then crowned with thorns. That led ultimately to a confrontation in which out of fear of a conflict that could lead to his own loss of status; he allowed you to be executed. How many times out of fear of offending someone have I failed to do your will? Our culture today has made that which is wrong right and that which is right wrong just as you said it would do. Help me to be motivated by fear of offending You; rather than fear of those who are offended by the truth. Give me the wisdom to be able to love the sinner while hating the sin. Make me your instrument to draw people back to you.

Jesus spent the night with Barabbas, Dismas, Gestus, and others, only one responded You spent Thursday night in the cistern with the other prisoners. You could not lay down as there was nowhere on your body that was not bruised and cut, except the bottom of your feet and your head. The floor was covered with sewage with the only clean spaces occupied by someone else. As you stood in the dark you spoke with the others present. As the newest person dropped into the cistern you were probably questioned by those already present. You must have struck up a conversation with Dismas because you made a huge impact on him. All the others present heard the conversation you were having with him but only Dismas responded. Please give me the grace to respond to you in whatever disturbing disguise you come to me in.

Jesus is Crowned with Thorns

April 3, 33/ Nisan 14, 3793
“I gave my back to those who beat me, my cheeks to those who plucked my beard; my face I did not shield from buffets and spitting."(Is 50:6)

Our Father
Jesus was scheduled by Pilate to be brought out the first thing Friday morning, so he could affect his release. He was taken from the prison (cistern) before the morning briefing; so as not to risk a delay should soldiers need to be lowered into the pit to put the rope on him to lift him out or worse needed to clean him off before taking him to Pilate because he had fallen.

Today in Jerusalem there are Spina Christi trees. As the soldiers, sent to retrieve Jesus, were taking him to the morning briefing from the cistern that served as the public jail for both the Romans and the Jews; they likely encountered a Spina Christe, jujube tree. Although not possibly the same tree that stood in Jesus time likely a descendent of the one standing in his day. One of the soldiers likely saw the thorns as they passed with Jesus and said: “Let’s make the King of the Jews a crown.” The new growth was 3’ (1 m.) long, green and very supple with thorns up to 2 1/2” (6 cm.) as it was only April 3rd. By June the new growth will be 4’ (1.2 m.) long and have 4” (10 cm.) thorns.

Jesus was thus present when the cohort met for its normal morning briefing in the praetorium (Mt 27:27). The soldiers on night duty were going off shift and the soldiers coming on duty were getting briefed: the whole cohort + never less than 480, nor greater than 1000 men, was present.  It was at this briefing early Friday morning that the soldiers decided to have fun at the expense of the "King of the Jews." Jesus was crowned with thorns. (HM-1)

Thorns and Sugar Cane Reeds

The soldiers formed a crude crown (more like a cap) from thorns of the Christ Thorn Jujube, commonly called a Spina Christi tree, (Zizyphus Spina species). It was spring, and the new growth was supple and easily woven together to form a painful equivalent to the laurel wreath shown on Caesar’s head; but with thorns that varied from one inch (25 mm.) to 3 inches (75 mm.) in length. The branches used were green with white thorns not as typically shown on images of the crucified Jesus. They put a purple robe on him and forced the crown down onto on Jesus’ head.

In his bound hands, they place a reed, as a scepter, in mockery of his kingship. Kneeling before him in derision, they spit on him (Is 50:6), and cry out: "Hail, King of the Jews!” (Mt 27:29).

Taking the wild sugar cane, Saccharum biflorum, from his hand they strike him on the head (Mt 27:28-30), driving the thorns further into his scalp and then they pull a few hairs from his beard. (There is missing hair on the right side just under his lip and from the center of his chin.) The cap of thorns digs into the trigeminal nerve (which carries facial pain sensation to the brain – think exposed nerve: like a root canal without anesthetic) and into the greater occipital nerves (causing extreme headaches) especially as he was struck with reeds, contributing to traumatic shock. “His cheeks and nose became reddened, bruised, and swollen [from the blows with the reed]. Severe stabbing, lancinating pains that felt like electric shocks or red-hot pokers traversed His face, immobilizing Him so He was afraid to turn lest the pain might recur, a condition medically known as trigeminal neuralgia or tic douleroux. His face became distorted, and He tensed His whole body so that He would not move, for every movement activated little trigger zones, bringing on agonizing attacks. +
Head Wounds and Nerves

Head wounds bleed profusely. The wounds from the thorns were still leaking blood when Jesus died 8 hours later. That would indicate that the thorns were continually being pushed into the nerves as He turned his head or leaned back while on the cross; keeping the wounds from closing. We have all felt the pain of a thorn or splinter but consider that the splinter is going right into a nerve where the nerve bundle enters the brain! (HM-2)

The soldiers incurred what was thought to be a minimal risk in torturing Jesus. The soldiers could torture any prisoner; with the exception that if the prisoner was condemned to death he had to be alive to be executed. The execution was both a state event and an example to the people. If a tortured, condemned prisoner died before execution; the soldier doing the torture, or the centurion assigned to the crucifixion detail would take the prisoner’s place and an execution would still be held. The risk was thought to be minimal as the soldiers were told that Pilate intended to release Jesus. (HM-3)

At this point the severe pains from the trigeminal neuralgia, and the multiple strikes to Jesus’ head region and to the crown of thorns, added to the trauma already received from the brutal scourging and beating at the home of Caiaphas, thereby deepening the degree of traumatic shock. Concomitantly, the blood loss and sweating from the hematidrosis, the increased sweating during the trigeminal neuralgia attacks, the blood loss from the penetration by the thorns, and the sweating and vomiting caused by the flogging all added to the degree of hypovolemic shock. At this time, there would be significant fluid buildup around His lungs (pleural effusion), which was slowly developing due to the severe beating to the chest during the flogging. At this stage, Jesus would be progressively weaker, light-headed, ashen in color, somewhat short of breath, and unsteady on His feet, and He would experience intermittent episodes of sweating. +

Jesus was then taken to Pilate at the appointed time. Pilate’s strategy to release Jesus is to satisfy the envy of the priests and scribes by showing them a beaten and humiliated man while at the same time obtaining the sympathy of the crowd. (HM-4)

When Jesus arrived, Pilate was moved at the sight of Jesus scourged and crowned with thorns. He took him before the people and unintentionally spoke to the crowd in the words of the prophet Zechariah saying: "Behold the Man" (Jn 19:5, Zech 6:12).

The verse in Zechariah says: "Behold the man whose name is Branch; and he shall grow up in his place, and he shall build the temple of God" (Zech 6:12). “Branch” is the primary symbol of the Messiah used also by Isaiah: “There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (Is 11:1); and Jeremiah: “See the days are coming when I will raise up a righteous branch for David; as King, he shall govern wisely, he shall do what is right in the land” (Jer 23:5).

A typical rabbinical teaching technique is to start a quote: “Behold the Man” and everyone fills in the rest of the quote: “whose name is branch….”.

Pilate said: “Behold the Man.”

And the priests and scribes, knowing the next line, all heard: “Behold the Messiah.” (HM-5)

The high priest had put Jesus under oath during his trial before the Sanhedrin and then asked Jesus specifically if He was the Messiah. When Jesus answered, they had screamed: “Blasphemy!”

Pilate was looking to elicit sympathy for Jesus and to satisfy the blood lust of the scribes and priests, but Pilate unknowingly called Jesus the Messiah. Instead of getting sympathy, Pilate inflamed the hatred of the scribes and priests. (HM-6)

Not realizing what he had just done, Pilate then offered to release Jesus as the customary prisoner released during the festival. However, the crowd was primarily temple sympathizers, organized by the priests: it was after all preparation day and the devout Israelites were at home preparing for Passover. Led by the scribes and priests the crowd did as they were instructed and screamed for Barabbas.

The name Barabbas means “son of the father” (a name for a man who does not know his father’s name). The crowds were then given a choice between Jesus, “the son of an unknown father,” and Jesus (Mt 27:16), “the Son of God the Father.” Jesus Barabbas was released (Mt 27:20-22). (HM-7)

Pilate still wanted to release Jesus, so he said: “Then what shall I do with Jesus” (Mk 15:12)

The crowd, led by the scribes and priests, yelled: “Crucify him.”

Pilate said: “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him.” (Jn 19:6).

The Jews answered Pilate: “We have a law and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God.” (Jn 19:7). ...  (HM-8)

When Pilate heard these words, he was even more afraid as Caesar Augustus’ title was the “son of god” thus this would imply a claim to usurp Caesar’s role. Pilate went back into the praetorium to determine if Jesus was a revolutionary. He asked Jesus: “Where are you from?”

But Jesus didn’t answer.

Pilate said: “You will not speak to me? Don’t you know that I have the power to release you, and the power to crucify you?”

Then Jesus responded: “You would have no power over me unless it had been given to you from above; therefore, he who delivered me to you has the greater sin.”(Jn 19:7-11)

Jesus chooses to allow events to play out. Jesus had an opportunity to plead his case but makes no attempt to do so: “No one takes my life from me” (Jn 10:18). (HM-9)

Pilate sought to release Jesus, but the chief priests cried out: “If you release him you are no friend of Caesar because He claims to be king and we have no king but Caesar.” (Jn 19:12).

Now that’s a threat! Pilate will now have to formally acknowledge the kingship of Jesus or there is no crime against Rome to justify his execution. Pilate in frustration sat down on the judgment seat at a place called “The Pavement”, but in Hebrew, “Gabbatha” (Jn 19:13). When Pilate saw that he was accomplishing nothing, but rather that a riot was starting, he washed his hands in front of the crowd saying: “I am innocent of this Man’s blood; see to that yourselves.

And all the people said: “His blood shall be on us and on our children!”(Mt 27:25)

Thus, Pilate relented to the will of the priests and scribes (Lk 23:25). Jesus was led off to be crucified.

In a murder for hire who is to blame? Beware of anyone who blames only the Jews or only the Romans: both are guilty! I too am guilty: it was also for my sins that he died. Remember Jesus had said: “No one takes my life from me. I lay it down of my own accord”(Jn 10:18).

Pilate is faced with a choice: risk his position in a political confrontation or sacrifice his conviction that Jesus does not deserve to die. When I am faced with a choice between the world and its pleasures and my convictions; how will I choose? (HM-10, GB, OMJ)

Reflections on the Crowning with Thorns

Who prompted Pilate to say: “Behold the Man”?
Was it a coincidence that Pilate said exactly the wrong thing? I don’t think so. The devil was so consumed with hatred for you he must have figured that was exactly the thing that would insure your ultimate condemnation. Was it a coincidence that the high priest realized that Pilate would attempt to release Jesus and then ordered a crowd to be present? Lord the devil is so much smarter than I, that I must keep asking you to protect me. Don’t let me stumble into the traps he sets for me. Don’t let me through weakness become a tool of the devil. Thank you for my guardian angel.

He who delivered me to you has the greater sin. Who is “he”?
You said to Pilate: “He who delivered me to you has the greater sin.” Who is “he”? Was it Judas who delivered you to the Jews or was it Caiaphas who engineered a trial to find you guilty of blasphemy? Or was it me along with all who have sinned? I am awed by your refusal to defend yourself. You resolutely set about allowing yourself to be arrested, beaten, scourged, and crowned with thorns and then still refused to defend yourself. My ego is so big I can’t conceive of allowing anyone to accuse me of something I did not do; let alone allow myself to die the cruelest death there is without any protest. Help me to awaken to the spiritual dimension so that I can begin to see as you see. Help me to see beyond the physical.

Jesus Carries the Cross

- April 3, 33/Nisan 14, 3793
If anyone would come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. ( Mt 16:24, Mk 8:34, Lk 9:23)

Our Father
The scourging that was the “normal part of crucifixion” occurred just prior to carrying the cross piece (patibulum). The condemned will die by torture: so much pain that the person dies by drowning in his own cell tissue (the burst alveoli). Crucifixion could take days, so to accelerate death on the cross, the condemned was scourged primarily on the back and chest to inflict maximum pain as well as to damage the alveoli thus accelerating traumatic shock. Jesus was the only person known to have suffered a full body scourging and a crowning with thorns, prior to crucifixion. Jesus had already been more thoroughly scourged and the soldiers now had a vested interest in keeping Jesus alive. The soldiers escorting Jesus to Golgotha know how much Jesus bled during the crowning of thorns and they have seen the bruising and blood caked on his body from the earlier scourging. They are worried that Jesus won’t even make it to Golgotha; less than a mile (1.6 Km) away. We know He was not scourged Friday because if He had been scourged, then there would be life blood on his back from the scourging. (HM-1)

One condemned to death on the cross had the patibulum tied to his extended hands and positioned on his back across his shoulders. He then had to carry the patibulum, weighing between 50 and 75 lbs. (22.7 and 34 kg.) + (depending on the size, type of wood, + and how dry the wood was), to the place of execution.  (HM-2)

Jesus meets the weeping women and says: ‘Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. For the days are surely coming when they will say, “Happy are the barren, and the wombs that never bore, and the breasts that never nursed.” Then they will begin to say to the mountains: “Fall on us”; and to the hills: “Cover us.” For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?’(Lk 23:26-31). (HM-3)

Jesus as a prophet is warning the women that if the high priest does this to the innocent (Jesus) then the guilty will surely be burned, as in fact happened when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD.

Note that the destruction of Jerusalem was less than a generation from Jesus’ crucifixion. We legalized the killing of the innocent in 1973. (HM-4)

The Stations of the Cross indicate that Jesus met his mother along the way to Golgotha. There is no mention in any ancient texts of her specifically meeting Jesus as He carried the cross, but it is likely she was with the weeping women. We do know that Mary was present at the foot of the cross and that there were other women nearby (Mt 27:55-56); the question is one of timing. When did she arrive, after Jesus or with Jesus? It makes no difference: the meeting, whenever it occurred, caused untold anguish to both. Mary sees her son; beaten and bloody. The anguish felt at seeing a loved one suffer when there is nothing that can be done to alleviate the pain is incredible and yet it is even worse when the one suffering is completely innocent. Mary sees Jesus’ physical suffering and Jesus sees Mary’s anguish. (HM-5)

The bruises on Jesus’ knee, + and the skin scraped off his nose show that he fell once carrying the patibulum. Falling with his arms tied to the patibulum insured that He would land on his face. When he fell, ... the weight of the patibulum falling onto to Jesus’ shoulder and back may have damaged the nerves in his right shoulder. Jesus’ face is now covered with dirt, mud, blood, sweat and spittle. (HM-6)

When Jesus fell, the soldiers became very concerned that he may die. The soldiers rushed to remove the heavy patibulum from his shoulders and back. Rather than take the time to untie the ropes or try to lift both Jesus and the patibulum, a soldier used his sword to hack through the ropes. Freeing Jesus from the patibulum they began to help him to his feet.

Normally a civilian would not be allowed near the condemned. However, since they need to get Jesus to the cross before He dies, anything that helps is going to be allowed. Bernice, the woman who had the hemorrhage cured by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment, steps forward and wipes Jesus’ face with her veil. Tradition calls her Veronica but that is just Latin for “true image” which is what the soldiers, who saw it, reported to Pilate. There was a “true image” of the man’s face on her veil.

The story of Veronica does not come from the gospels but rather from the annals of Pilate, which is sometimes called the gospel of Barnabas: not inspired writing but an historical document. + We also believe the Tradition that makes up our faith. The story of Veronica is a classic example. The story of Vericonica is part of tradition which we are supposed to believe. However it is also supported in history (as stated above) and is tied to the woman, Bernice, who had the hemorage cured by touching the hem of Jesus’ tunic.

A significant event in a person’s life may very well bring a name change. Remember Sarai, Abrahams wife’s name was changed from Sarai (quarrelsome) to Sarah (princess) after she gave birth to Isaac, and Saul became Paul after his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. The reason that we don’t find reference to Bernice as the person who wiped Jesus’ face with her veil is likely that she was never called Bernice after that event.

Remember that she had timidly just touched Jesus’ clothing believing she would be cured. Suddenly she is the center of attention as she has been cured. She had incredible faith in Jesus to have believed that it only required contact with him. Afterwards she had to have been very grateful and probably joined the other devout women who traveled with Jesus and his disciples. So now as Jesus is about to be crucified, she has joined the other women to follow Jesus to his death. When Jesus fell under the weight of the patibulum, the cross piece, somewhere between 50 and 75 lbs. Jesus falls face forward into the dirt. Instinctively he would have brought one arm around in an attempt to plant the edge of the patibulum into the ground to break his fall; if he had enough time to react. Either way He was going to land face first. The patibulum falling onto his back. His face was wet with blood from the crown of thorns which continued bleeding all day, as well as from sweat resulting from the traumatic shock, and the spit. When the soldiers removed the patibulum from his back and grabbed each arm to lift him to his feet, Bernice could see that Jesus’s face was covered with mud. He likely could not even open his eyes. She boldly stepped forward and wiped his face without regard for her own life. Touching the condemned was punishable by instant death. She was rewarded with an image on her veil that so startled the soldiers that they reported the event to Pilate. That was for her a life changing moment. From timid to bold. She was likely not called Bernice again but was called by the phonetic equivalent of the exclamation uttered by the soldier who saw the image on her veil: ver iconica "true image". + (HM-7)

That the soldiers forced Simon of Cyrene to help Jesus carry his cross indicates the level of concern. They feared that Jesus may die before being crucified. (Mt 27:32, Mk 15:21, Lk 23:26). The patibulum was placed on Jesus and Simon’s shoulders. The patibulum’s weight that Jesus now had to carry was now between 30 and 40 lbs. (14 and 18 kg.) ... Instead of carrying it across his back which crossed over the cuts on his shoulder from the scourging, the edges of the beam now dig into the cuts from the scourging and begin to tear into the shoulder muscles.

Cutting the ropes to remove Jesus from the cross-piece, meant Jesus’ hands would be nailed to the cross when He got to the place of execution (the rope pieces are now too short to re-tie).

On the bumpy, uphill road to Golgotha Jesus continued to stumble and fall gasping for breath because of the buildup of pleural fluid around the lungs. His perspiration added to the hypovolemia (insufficient blood plasma). The escaping body fluids as perspiration are reducing the fluids available for plasma. Jesus’ veins and lungs are beginning to collapse.  (HM-8)

The placard (Titulus) that Pilate had had written, which would be placed on the cross, was carried in front of the condemned as he carried the cross piece (Jn 19:19-20). It announced the crime for which the prisoner was being punished. It read: “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”. Nazareth is the Hebrew word for “Branch town”. Thus, it can be read: “Jesus the Branch, King of the Jews" reminding us again of Zechariah’s “Behold the man whose name is Branch” (Zech 6:12)!

The placard was written in:
Hebrew יהוה        
  ישוע הנצרת והמלך  היהודים 
Latin INRI             Iesus    Nazarenus    Rex    Iudæorum
                                 ἰνßἰ                     ησοῦς     ναζωραῖος     ßασιλεύς    ουδαίων

                     Hebrew:    Yeshua   HaNatzeret   V’HaMelech    Hayehudim    [YHVH - which in Hebrew spells the name of God: “I Am”].  It should be noted that Hebrew is read from right to left as shown in the Hebrew script above but it has been written here as a transliteration so we can pronounce it from left to right. +
         Latin:    Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudæorum [INRI - which is on the top of our crucifixes]; and in
         Greek:      iEsous ho nazOraios hobasieus tOnioudaiOn” [INBI];

Jesus in frustration when arguing with the Pharisees had said: “When you have lifted up the Son of Man then you will know that I am“ (Jn 8:28).

Now the Titulus has YHVH: “I am” just as Jesus foretold. That, since every letter in the Hebrew alphabet is also a word, can be read “Behold the hand, behold the nail” + (HM-9)

The priests objected to Pilate’s wording not so much because it clearly proclaimed Jesus the Messiah (Jn 19:21) but that it proclaimed that Jesus was God! Pilate however would not/could not change it because the kingship of Jesus was the crime for which He was condemned. Anyone can claim to be king, that is not a crime, but being a king is a crime against Rome. (HM-10, GB, OMJ)

Reflections on Carrying the Cross

Veronica voluntarily came to Jesus aid without fear of the repercussion to herself.
Without thought for herself, Bernice took off her veil and stepped forward and wiped your face. She did it because the mud and blood on your face had obscured your vision. She did it because it was the right thing to do. It was so bold that the soldiers stepped back and allowed her to help. Give me the wisdom to see the right thing to do and the fortitude to imitate Bernice and just do it. It is so easy to rationalize: we can’t touch the condemned, we will get hit or worse arrested. I am more like the rest of the crowd who stays behind the line or worse just stays away while babies are aborted and women ruin their lives because they have been lied to. Have mercy on all those who are in agony because of an abortion.

Jesus said we must pick up our cross daily.
My cross is the things I hate to do. It is the things I do only when I have to. Yet you, Jesus, chose as your cross the most painful suffering possible. Help me to see the value in the little crosses you gave me. Help me to choose to follow your example. Help me to see the beauty in the trials that come my way. Padre Pio said the wound that hurt the most was the wound from carrying the cross. Yes Lord I can relate to that, although my cross is nothing compared to yours but please help me to carry my cross it gets so heavy sometimes.

The Crucifixion of our Lord

- April 3rd, 33 (Nisan 14th, 3793).
The Exodus of a Priest, Prophet, and King
"There were many who were appalled at him, his appearance was so disfigured, beyond that of any man, and his form marred beyond human likeness"
 (Is 52:14).

Our Father
When they arrived at the summit of the hill called the "Skull", someone offered Jesus wine to drink that had been mixed with gall (Ps 69:22 ). But when He tasted it, He would not drink it. Jesus had been offered something to reduce or eliminate the pain, but He refused it (Mt: 27:34).

Jesus tunic was placed back on him after the scourging and was stuck to his body just as a bandage sticks to a wound. Criminals were crucified naked to increase their shame, degradation, and vulnerability. The soldiers stripped Jesus of his garments. When they ripped his tunic from him it ripped the dried blood from his chest and back leaving his body raw from the scourging, exposing a man who no longer resembled a man. A man who was red and black and blue from his ankles to his shoulders. The soldiers divided his garments between themselves. Jesus’ tunic was woven without seam, making it rare and thus valuable, so they cast lots for it (Ps 22:18;Mt 27:36;Mk 15:24; Lk 23:34; Jn 19:23-24). A tunic woven without seam is what Moses prescribed to be worn by the high priest + as he ascended the altar to offer sacrifice (Ex 28:31-32). Jesus ascended Golgotha to offer himself as the sacrificial victim for the Paschal offering: “No one takes my life from me” (Jn 10:18). He went to his crucifixion dressed as the High Priest! Jesus is the true High Priest offering himself, the Lamb of God, on the cross. (HM-1)

Jesus was almost 6 inches (152 mm) taller than the average man of his day. The upright portion of the cross was permanently fixed into the ground, so it could be reused and would be stable (not fall over with the writhing of the condemned). ... There was a notch, mortise, in the upright into which a corresponding notch in the patibulum would be placed and the two pieces securely held together with a rope (allowing for reuse of the patibulum as well as the upright). ... So, the height of the cross was fixed, and Jesus was 6 inches (152 mm) too tall and his arms were too long. To compensate they stretched his arms as far as possible before nailing him to the patibulum. + ... That way his body would not hang down as far. A 7 inch (180 mm) nail was driven into each of his hands at an angle so that it entered low on his palm and exited on the back of his wrist. (The same way you would put a nail in the wall to hold a heavy picture.) A nail, driven as shown below into the area of the crease formed when the thumb touches the little finger, will separate the small bones in the hand without breaking them (Ex 12:46, Nm 9:12). ...

While Dr. Frederick T. Zugibe, M.D., Ph.D. was studying the shroud, he had a patient come in after accidentally having a large needle driven though her hand. He was amazed that not only did it exit exactly where the exit wound was on the shroud; it also entered exactly where Padre Pio and St Francis of Assisi had the entry wounds on their hands. When x-rayed it showed that no bones were broken and as nails would easily have held the weight of the body on the cross.
Driven exactly as in the picture of the woman’s hand above, a nail would have prevented tearing since it nails the wrist to the wood of the cross and the entire hand is above the nail.

Dr. Zugibe describes the scene of Jesus’ crucifixion:
    “The crosspiece was then laid on the ground, and Jesus was placed on top of it while three men of the team [of five, 4 soldiers and a centurion] held Him down, one lying across His chest. The latter brought on bitter pain and difficulty breathing because of the damage to the chest wall by the scourging. Jesus screamed in agony. While holding Him down, a large, square nail was then driven through the palm of the hand just in the fold of the large muscular prominence at the base of His thumb. He let out a blood-curdling scream. The nail struck the median nerve, causing one of the worst pains known to man, which physicians call causalgia. Soldiers who experienced shrapnel wounds to the median nerve during World War I often went into profound shock if the pain was not promptly relieved. Despite His exhaustion, Jesus wrenched and struggled: The pain was unbearable, burning, and incessant like a lightning bolt traversing the arm. The second hand was then nailed in the same manner, causing another loud shriek. Jesus was then forced to His feet with His hands nailed to the crosspiece. His knees buckled. [and he dropped to his knees. (this is likely where he got the dirt on his knees that transferred onto the shroud)] Two [members] of the team lifted each end of the crosspiece while the other two grasped Him around the body. Then they placed the crosspiece into the mortise that had been cut out of the top of the upright. While still holding Him around the lower part of His body, the two members of the quaternio bent His knees and lifted His heels against the upright until His feet were flush to the cross. One of the men drove a nail through each foot as another of his team held it against the cross. The pain was excruciating, and again Jesus screamed out in pain. He was almost totally exhausted, gasping for breath, and in severe pain. His tongue stuck to the roof of His mouth, which was full of stringy mucous. Sweat poured over His entire body, drenching him, and His face assumed a yellowish ashen color. His respirations became more rapid and shallow and severe cramps started in His calves. With this He twisted, turned, and arched His body to extend His legs and assume different positions in an attempt to relieve some of the cramp in His legs. The deep, burning, radiating pains like lightening bolts traversing the arms and the legs from the nails in the hands and feet, the lancinating pains across the face from irritation by the crown of thorns, the excruciating pains from the scourging, the severe pull on the shoulders, the intense cramps in the calves, and the severe thirst together composed a symphony of unrelenting pain.” +

Jesus’ head and body bumps against the upright as they secure the patibulum, driving the thorns deep into the occipital nerves while forcing the movement (twisting) of the thorn in the trigeminal nerve. Jesus cannot hold himself up for more than a few seconds with the torn muscle, his arms stretched out almost horizontal, and nerve damage in his shoulders. The full weight of his body on the weakened shoulders dislocates the shoulders + his head bumps hard again as his shoulders dislocate and his body drops, leaving his arms at a 70-degree angle from vertical. + Once the soldiers have secured the patibulum to the upright, the solders then lift Jesus’ legs and place his feet against the upright. With his left leg, slightly more bent, so that his left foot is on top of his right; a single nail is driven through both of his feet. ... ...

The hours on the cross, with pressure of the weight of the body on the nails through the hands and feet cause episodes of excruciating agony every time Jesus moves. The unrelenting pains of the chest wall from the scourging are felt with every breath, the excruciating headaches are exacerbated every time the back of his head touches the cross driving the thorns still further into the occipital and trigeminal nerves, the torn muscle and the dislocated shoulder sends searing pain every time he moves or tries to lift himself. The combination of pain is more than a human body can bear so the body continues to respond with ever deepening traumatic shock. (HM-2)

Jesus was on the cross somewhere between 3 and 6 hours. Mark is saying that Jesus was nailed to the cross at the same time the lamb picked by Caiaphas was tied to the altar in the temple (that only happened between 7:30 and 8:30 am). John says it was closer to noon. Because the priests were at the praetorium and then followed Jesus to Calvary, they likely didn’t get the lamb tied to the altar on time. John was there on Calvary, so he is referring to the time Jesus was crucified while Mark is simply pointing us to the Paschal Lamb: like the Paschal lamb is tied to the altar; so also, the Lamb of God, is nailed to the cross: the altar on which the Lamb of God will be sacrificed.

The first thing Jesus did from the cross was to forgive those who were crucifying him: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (Lk 23:34).... Sin unknowingly committed carries the least guilt. Jesus has already forgiven them and now he is begging his Father to also forgive! Jesus set an example of forgiveness. Failure to forgive only keeps us out of heaven. There is no conflict in heaven, so I can’t enter heaven if I hold anything against someone else; lest I encounter them in heaven! It does not affect the person we have not forgiven. The issue is my pride! (HM-3)

During that time on the cross Jesus was taunted by the priests. Those passing by were hurling abuse at him, wagging their heads, and saying: “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, and come down from the cross!” In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking him among themselves and saying, He saved others let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his chosen one!” come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” (Mk 15:27-32).  “He trusts in God; let God rescue him now, if He delights in him; for He said I am the Son of God.” (Mt 27:43)

Gestus, one of the criminals who was hanged there was also hurling abuse at Jesus. Saying: “Are You not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” (Lk 23:39).

But the other criminal, Dismas ... , answered, and rebuked him saying: “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And then he said: “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!”

That is an incredible leap of faith until you remember that Dismas spent the night with Jesus in the cistern! Jesus’ focus while in the cistern wasn’t on himself. He was reaching out to Dismas. Jesus responded: "This day you will be with me in paradise" ... (Lk 23:40-43). (HM-4)

As Jesus was nearing the end, He took care of his mother saying: “Woman, behold your Son!” Then He said to the disciple: “Son, behold your Mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home  (Jn 19:26-27).

That is one of the more powerful arguments that Jesus was an only child. For what child, would entrust his mother to someone else’s care if he had siblings. That would be an incredible insult to his siblings! Jesus’ use of the word “woman” is to let it be known that his reference to his mother is also in her role as the new Eve, the mother of the human-race. He gives his mother to all of us and He gives us to his mother. At the same time Jesus just fixed through Mary what Eve broke by bringing sin into creation (Gen 3-15) and at the same time Allows Mary to fulfill her Motherhood becoming the mother of all Creation. Jn 19:27)

Now consider that you are watching your son die, being murdered, being tortured, by those who are supposed to be leading us to God. Then your son looks at you and despite his own suffering; he is concerned that you are taken care of! (HM-5)

Jesus is experiencing traumatic shock. His lungs are filling with pleural fluid, ruptured alveoli. Each time He speaks it gets more difficult. Each time there is less oxygen capacity in his lungs and so He has to expand his diaphragm and chest still further when he speaks, to get enough air flowing over his vocal cords to be heard. Expanding his diaphragm and chest means lifting himself with torn muscles and enduring the pain of expanding bruised ribs.

When Jesus said on the cross "Eli, Eli lema Sabachthani" (Mt 27:46, Mk 15:34); He was naming a traditional prayer that we know today as Psalm 22. ... In Psalm 22 David describes Jesus’ crucifixion, three hundred years before the first man was ever crucified, and a thousand years before Jesus was crucified. Jesus was not calling out “My God, My God why have you forsaken me.” Mark and Matthew both give it to us as Jesus said it: in Hebrew (the name of the Psalm) not in Aramaic, the language Jesus spoke (which, of course, the evangelists translated to Greek). Both Mark and Matthew want us to know Jesus is referring to the prayer, so they give us the name of the prayer in Hebrew just as Jesus said it. Jesus’ switch to Hebrew caught those nearby completely off guard some even thought that Jesus was calling to Elijah (Mt 27:47, Mk 15:35).

Psalm 22 describes exactly what has just happened: “All who see me mock me saying: ‘He trusted in the Lord; let the Lord deliver him’… all my bones are out of joint… dogs ... are round about me… they have pierced my hands and feet… they stare and gloat over me… they divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots…”; and yet the prayer ends triumphantly with David proclaiming deliverance: “… And I [David] will live for the Lord; my descendants will serve you. The generation to come will be told of the Lord, that they may proclaim to a people yet unborn the deliverance you have brought” (Ps 22:28-32).  Deliverance by means of a crucifixion is to be proclaimed to all generations! The psalm has described the anticipated deliverance that is referred to in the Eucharistic (Todah) sacrifice during the Last Supper at which Jesus has introduced the New Covenant in his blood! Jesus now has us focused. With just four words, “Eli, Eli lema Sabachthani”, He has taken us with him back to the Last Supper and the New Covenant. Now He will finish the Last Supper! He is now about to provide the fulfillment of Psalm 22 by providing the deliverance for which we are giving thanks in the Todah, celebrated during both the Last Supper and every Mass! (HM-6)

When Jesus left the last supper, He had not finished the Seder meal.  He left out the 4th cup: the “Cup of Acceptance” (Mt 26).  and the Nirtzah. When He prayed in the garden "Father, if it be possible, take this cup from me" (Mt 26:39, Lk 22:42) , and when He said to Peter: “Shall I not drink the cup the Father has given me?” (Jn 18:11). He was referring to the 4th cup which He had not yet drunk.

“Jesus knowing that everything had now been completed, in order to completely fulfill the scriptures ... said: ‘I thirst’." (Jn 19:28). John is telling us that Jesus was being deliberate and calculating: He wanted to fulfill the Feast of Unleavened Bread and to do so He needed to finish the Last Supper. They held up a hyssop branch to which was attached a sponge that had been dipped in a mixture of vinegar (sour wine) and wine (Jn 19:29). (Hyssop was used on Passover to put the blood of the lamb, the means of deliverance, on the lintel and doorposts (Ex 12:22).)

Jesus drank the wine, the 4th cup, from the hyssop branch; and said: “It is finished” (Jn 19:30). “It is finished” is both the Nirtzah that ends the Seder meal + and is also what the priest says when he has struck the sacrificial lamb the killing blow. Jesus is both priest and victim! He finished the Last Supper on the cross: tying together the Essene’s “un-bloody” Seder celebration (the Todah as dress rehearsal for the Eucharist: an un-bloody sacrifice) with the Temple Passover celebration (the animal sacrifice as the dress rehearsal for the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.) The Kingdom of God has arrived, Jesus is finished (Mt 26:29, Mk 14:25, Lk 22:18)!

Jesus said: "Father, into your hands I commend + my spirit." (Ps 31:5, Lk 23:46) and died as the Passover victim, at the same time, that the priests began sacrificing the Paschal lambs ( Mt 27:46, Mk 15:34, Lk 23:44).

The Jewish evening prayer which would have been said by Jesus every evening:

In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness.
Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue;
Be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me.
Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge.
Into your hands I commend my spirit; Ps 31;2-5) deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

Just as the Jewish morning prayer: “I thank Thee, living and eternal King, for Thou hast mercifully restored my soul within me; Great is Thy faithfulness.” was likely said by Jesus every day.

Notice that the thought was that during sleep the soul left the body as shown in the word commend. It impies that I will take it back in the morning.
Jesus is also prophesing both His resurrection and the fulfillment of the Feast of Fruits with his very last words!

God arranged for there to be two Passovers celebrated. On the first, the Essene “un-bloody” Seder meal, beginning on the Essene Feast of un-leavened bread would be the dress rehearsal for the Eucharist with Jesus as the priest for the Todah and ending coincident with the Temple sacrifice of the Lamb of God. The second would enable the remembrance of Passover, on which the High Priest sacrificed a lamb, selected by the people, on Lamb Selection Day, to save their first-born sons; to be the dress rehearsal for the sacrifice of God’s first-born son, with Jesus as both the priest and the victim, the Lamb of God, to save all men! (HM-7)

Jesus began his life as the Lamb of God: born in a stable used to protect new born lambs from the weather, inspected by the Levitical shepherds, found without blemish’ thus destined to be sacrificed at Passover. At the start of his ministry He was proclaimed the Lamb of God by John the Baptist. With his baptism, He accepted his role as suffering servant. He began Holy Week as the Lamb of God: selected by the people as the lamb to be sacrificed for the people. Just as the Paschal lamb was attached to the altar, Jesus was nailed to the cross. The Lamb selected as the offering for the people on Lamb Selection Day was always the first lamb sacrificed. Jesus died as the Lamb of God so that through his blood all men would be delivered from the bondage of sin.

By the time Jesus died, it had been unnaturally dark for 3 hours + (Mk 15:33) and as He died the earth quaked. (It is interesting that during an Exorcism performed by Fr. Gabriel Amorth. Fr Gabriel had a demon say to him if we demons showed ourselves it would eclipse the sun. It is my opinion that from noon until Jesus died all the demons gathered to witness Satan’s victory over the Son of Man and in fact it did eclipse the sun. That is until Jesus died and Satan realized that the Son of Man had just performed the greatest act of sacrifical Love ever performed. God had just given up his own life to teach men to Love. The Son of Man had in fact just guaranteed Satan’s ultimate defeat.) +

The centurion cried out “This truly was the Son of God” (Mk 15:39).

The curtain that separates the Holy of Holys from the rest of the Temple was torn from top to bottom: profaning the Temple (Mk 15:38). Only the high priest could venture into the Holy of Holies and then only on the Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the year, (one of the Feasts of the Lord). ...

When an Israelite expressed extreme sorrow, he tore his garment from top to bottom. Caiaphas tore his garment when he heard Jesus admit to being the Son of God. God himself tore his garment, expressing his extreme sorrow, when his son Jesus died on the cross! (HM-8)

The ultimate cause of death is forensically determined to be from a combination of traumatic shock (torture) and hypovolemia. +
There has been so much pain, that so many alveoli have ruptured, which when combined with the loss of blood, causes there to be not enough oxygen provided to his brain to sustain life. In his capacity as medical examiner Dr. Zugibe states he would have written:
     "Cause of Death: Cardiac and respiratory arrest, due to hypovolemic and traumatic shock, due to crucifixion." +

After Jesus died at 3 pm his face was immediately covered with the sudarium ... , a linen cloth (Jn 20:7). This was allowed by the Romans because upon death the criminal’s debt was paid; so, to end the embarrassment of the family, the criminals face could be covered. Covering the face of the deceased is a tradition still practiced today.

The linen cloth does not contain an image of Jesus’ face. It has blood, sweat, and pleural fluid from his head, face and lungs. The cloth is the other cloth that was folded up in the corner of the tomb (Jn 20:7). Any piece of clothing or cloth that had life blood on it had to be buried with the deceased. The cloth is currently in Oviedo Spain.

Joseph of Arimathea went to Pilate to obtain his body(Mk 15:43) and Pilate, surprised that He could have already died, sent for the centurion to be sure that Jesus was dead (Mk 15:44).Once assured, he then gave Joseph permission to remove the body from the cross. His body was placed in the arms of his mother. +

Mary immediately covered Jesus and then held him for about an hour. ... During that time Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemas left to get burial linen and spices.

Shortly after Joseph of Arimathea left Pilate, the priests came to Pilate to request that no one be left on a cross after sunset: 5:59pm local time (Jn 19:31).

Pilate then instructed a centurion to break the legs of those who were crucified. Breaking the legs radically increases the level of pain since their legs are supporting most of their weight.

When the soldier, the centurion Longinus, + came to Jesus, He was lying in the arms of his mother, with his face covered, his body rhythmically moving as Mary breathed. Longinus could not tell if Jesus was dead or alive.

To follow his orders, rather than break Jesus’ legs (which would not be lethal to a man already removed from the cross) Longinus stabbed Jesus in his side and into his heart to ensure that Jesus was dead. ... Blood and water burst from the pierced pericardium ...
(Zech 12:10-11, Zech 13:1, Jn 19:34) flowing back out of the entry wound and across his back, as well as up his esophagus and out his nose and mouth.  The water was edema caused by the cellular break down of the alveoli as well as plueral effusion from the bruising of the ribs that had accumulated around the lungs. Mary cried out for the first time that day when her dead son was brutally stabbed as she held him in her arms. (HM-9)

Jesus had to be in the tomb before sunset.  Rigor Mortis had already begun by the time Jesus was wrapped in the shroud as his knees are still bent, as they were on the cross. It is possible that the dislocation of the shoulders and elbow was caused by breaking the rigor mortis to bring Jesus arms down and across his body but it is also possible if the shoulders were already dislocated they were able to move them. The shroud was an expensive linen cloth (a Herringbone weave) that was exactly 8 cubits by 2 cubits. John along with Joseph of Arimathea, Mary, Nicodemas, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Salome (Mk 15:40) the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Mt 27:56) , and Joanna the wife of Chuza carefully, lovingly washed the dirt, sweat, spit, and blood (that was not life blood) from Jesus’ body to prepare him for burial. They did not have time to place the spices and anoint the body so some of the women volunteered to return on Sunday to complete the burial preparations.

Jesus’ feet were placed at the bottom of the 14-foot-long shroud shroud and the linen was then folded over his head, taken down the front of his body, back under his feet and tied to his body with a single strip of cloth at the ankles, then looped around his knees, waist, and neck before being tied back to itself. 

That strip of cloth was cut from the side of the shroud and has subsequently been sewed back onto the shroud. 

Consider the pain Mary felt as they rolled the stone over the entrance to the tomb. (HM-10, GB, OMJ)

Reflections on the Crucifixion

Jesus did not complain; like a lamb to its slaughter

Jesus, you did not complain at all. Yet unlike the lamb led to the slaughter you knew what was going to happen. I on the other hand complain whenever I don’t get what I want. Every word you uttered from the cross hurt incredibly. Each time you spoke it hurt still more. Your lungs were filling with fluid making it progressively more difficult to obtain enough air to breathe let alone to speak. You had to lift yourself to breathe in to get the volume of air required to speak, which expanded your bruised ribs. That further ripped the torn muscle and pulled the dislocated shoulders. Mary, you were there being crushed with sorrow as your son felt the pain of breathing deeply but you longed for every word from his mouth. I can’t comprehend the pain. His body was your body his pain your pain. When the centurion pierced Jesus’ heart the lance knocked you over.

Eli, Eli lema Sabachthani
What Jesus was doing when He said “Eli,Eli lema Sabachthani” was naming the prayer we know as Psalm 22. A Psalm that He was about to fulfill by saying: “ thirst”, drinking the wine, and then saying “It is finished”: thus completing the Seder Meal. Psalm 22, written by David 300 years before the first man was ever crucified, and a 1000 years before Jesus was crucified foretells a crucifixion which will provide a deliverance that will be proclaimed to all generations. Jesus is pointing out to his Mother and the apostle John that he is finishing the Last Supper, the Seder Meal: a Todah for a great deliverence, and fulfilling the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Our salvation is complete. That is not what is expected from someone who feels forsaken. But let us not forget that God, in the person of the Holy Spirit inspired David to write that first line, the name of the psalm: “My god, My God why have you forsaken me.” The Holy Spirit knew that it would be centuries before we understood what was happening and many souls would be aided by the thought that Jesus felt forsaken.
Based on forensic analysis of the image on the Turin Shroud. +
The Shroud of Turin  ©1978, Barrie M. Schwortz Collection, STERA Inc, SHROUD.COM , Used with permission.


Greg Biltz said...

A Case for Tradition

The following thoughts were provided by Fr. Joe Vieira the Pastor of Holy Nativity Catholic Church in Payson, Arizona; an Ordinariate Rite Roman Catholic Church. I have added this to the site via comments on the Sorrowful Mysteries so that others may follow the example and add their own reflections:

We also believe the Tradition that makes up our faith. The story of Veronica is a classic example. The story of Vericonica is part of tradition which we are supposed to believe. However it is also supported in history and is tied to the woman, Bernice, who had the hemorage cured by touching the hem of Jesus' tunic. See for a detailed discussion of the subject.

If you read in the historical background of this document the section on Names it points out that a significant event in a person’s life may very well bring a name change. Remember Sarai, Abrahams wife’s name was changed from Sarai (quarrelsome) to Sarah (princess) after she gave birth to Isaac. The reason that we don’t find reference to Bernice as the person who wiped Jesus’ face with her veil is likely that she was never called Bernice after that event.

Remember that she had timidly just touched Jesus’ clothing believing she would be cured. Suddenly she is the center of attention as she has been cured. She had incredible faith in Jesus to have believed that it only required contact with him. Afterwards she had to have been very grateful and probably joined the other devout women who traveled with Jesus and his disciples. So now as Jesus is about to be crucified, she has joined the other women to follow Jesus to his death.

When Jesus fell under the weight of the patibulum, the cross piece, about 75 lbs. He falls face forward into the dirt. Instinctively he would have brought one arm around in an attempt to plant the edge of the patibulum into the ground to break his fall; if he had enough time to react. Either way He was going to land face first. The 75 lb. patibulum falling onto his back. His face was wet with blood from the crown of thorns which continued bleeding all day, as well as from sweat resulting from the traumatic shock, and spit. When the soldiers removed the patibulum from his back and grabbed each arm to lift him to his feet, Bernice could see that Jesus’s face was covered with mud. He likely could not even open his eyes. She boldly stepped forward and wiped his face without regard for her own life. Touching the condemned was punishable by instant death. She was rewarded with an image on her veil that startled the soldiers, they reported the event to Pilate. That was for her a life changing moment. From timid to bold. She was likely not called Bernice again but was called by the phonetic equivalent to the exclamation uttered by the soldier who saw the image on her veil: ver iconica "true image".

We can see another excellent example drawn from the Stations of the Cross. While it is very unlikely that Jesus fell three times under the weight of the cross, it is very likely that He fell multiple times. Jesus had lost a lot of fluid: blood during the scourging, the crowning with thorns, and the sweating that accompanies traumatic shock. He would have been very weak by the time he carried the patibulum. We can tell that he fell to his knees after being nailed to the patibulum, while attempting to carry the patibulum to the stipes (the upright portion of the cross). We know that because dirt was found on the shroud at the point where the shroud was in contact with Jesus’ knees. Jesus’ tunic would have covered his knees as carried the cross. That is until He was stripped of his garments prior to being nailed to the cross. The significance of the number of falls is a spiritual one. Just as Jesus fell multiple times and He kept getting up and continued his journey to his death so we are encouraged to keep getting up after we fall into sin.

Greg Biltz said...

One other spiritual example is when Jesus cried out "Eli, Eli lema Sabachthani". Jesus had switched from Aramaic to Hebrew which caused those present to think that He was calling out to Elijah, while actually He was naming a prayer. The people spoke in Aramaic but prayed in Hebrew. Matthew and Mark provide us with a translation from the Hebrew: “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me.” Which by tradition has been taken to imply that just as we have frequently felt forsaken by God so did Jesus. However, by this time, Jesus was almost dead. His lungs were nearly filled with fluid and talking would have been very difficult and yet He still said “I thirst”, “It is finished”, and “Father into your hands I commend my spirit.” Notice the length of the sentences, the last one is the longest.

What Jesus was doing when He said “Eli,Eli lema Sabachthani" was naming the prayer we know as Psalm 22 that He was about to fulfill by saying: “I thirst”, drinking the wine, and then saying “It is finished”: thus completing the Seder Meal. Psalm 22, written by David 300 years before the first man was ever crucified, and a 1000 years before Jesus was crucified foretells a crucifixion which will provide a deliverance that will be proclaimed to all generations. Jesus is pointing out to his Mother and the apostle John that he is finishing the last supper, the Seder Meal: a Todah for a great deliverence, and fulfilling the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Our salvation is complete. That is not what is expected from someone who feels forsaken. But let us not forget that God, in the person of the Holy Spirit inspired David to write that first line, the name of the psalm: “My god, My God why have you forsaken me.” The Holy Spirit knew that it would be centuries before we understood what was happening and many souls would be aided by the thought that Jesus felt forsaken.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely beautiful and moving. Thank you.

The Douche of Wellington said...

Thank you. The reflections and history of the Rosary Mysteries are the most beautiful, contemplative and sorrowful accounts I have ever read. What a gift our Catholic faith is and how humbled and in awe I feel after reading your words. Gloria in excelsis Deo.