Jesus is crowned with thorns and mocked by Roman soldiers. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by pursuing the Virtue of Justice so he can always refuse to cooperate with evil and by building the Virtue of Courage by meditating upon the the Crowning with Thorns of Jesus Christ.
See: Holy Week – Friday – The Passion of Our Lord – Jn 18:1-19:42; Holy Week – The Passion of Our Lord – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 26:14-27:66; Holy Week – The Passion of Our Lord – Sunday – Cycle B – Mk 14:1-15:47
After both Pilate and Herod find Jesus innocent of rebellion, Pilate attempts to free Jesus by offering to release either the notorious rebel murderer Barabbas or Jesus. After the chief priests incite the mob to choose Barabbas, Pilate worries about a riot and attempts to satisfy the crowd by having Jesus brutally scourged, leaving Jesus weakened by severe wounds over most of His body.
Returning Jesus to Pilate from where He was scourged, the Roman soldiers take Jesus into a non-public area of Pilate’s headquarters (Praetorium). After gathering the whole battalion (600 soldiers), the soldiers rip Jesus’ clothing off, opening the wounds from the scourging and wrap Jesus in a kingly royal purple robe (Mk 15:17). The soldiers then cut and weave a crown of thorns which tradition holds was made from a jujube tree (Latin scientific name: Zizyphus spina Christi), and place it on Christ’s head. The soldiers put a rod in His right hand like a kingly scepter and kneel down before Him and mock Him, saying, “Hail, the King of the Jews.” They strike Him with a stout rod on the head, driving the spike thorns of the crown into His skull and spit upon Him.
Worsening the life-threatening injuries He has already sustained during His previous beatings (Lk 22:63, Jn 18:22) and the near-lethal brutal scourging, Jesus now endures more physical abuse which leaves Him gravely weakened. The crown of thorns, driven down on His head with rod strikes, have sharp nail-like spikes, 2-4 inches in length, that puncture His scalp and cause significant pain. The Shroud of Turin, perhaps Christ’s burial cloth, reveals the man of the Shroud had over 30 puncture wounds around his head with extensive trauma and bleeding. The Shroud also reveals the man suffered significant wounds to the face which include swelling and bruising around the eyes and the nose, consistent with being severely punched and beaten.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Christ transforms His Crown of Thorns into total victory: Perfection of Self-control, Jesus achieves His mission when He refrains from thwarting the attacks of the 600 Roman soldiers with His Divine Power; Divine Truth, Jesus allows the soldiers to unwittingly profess the truth of His Kingship when they mock Him; Divine Judge, Jesus observes the evil of the soldiers who will again kneel before Him in their personal Judgment.
Refuse to cooperate with evil
Realize: The mob of 600 Roman soldiers sin collectively by torturing and mocking Jesus and every soldier also individually cooperates by mocking Jesus or failing to oppose the injustice of torture (Sin of Omission; CCC 1853); Every Catholic man must be vigilant to never cooperate with sin by what he does and doesn’t do.
Believe: Reflect upon Cooperating with Sin (CCC 1851, 1868-1869).
Pray: Jesus, Tortured and Mocked Christ, help me build the Virtue of Justice so I always treat others with mercy and justice and never cooperate with evil in any way by what I do or fail to do.
Meditate upon Christ’s Crown of Thorns to grow in moral courage
Realize: The Mystery of Christ’s Crown of Thorns has traditionally been meditated upon to seek the fruit of moral courage for those who face severe trials in their lives.
Believe: Reflect upon the Virtue of Courage (CCC 1808).
Pray: Jesus, Courageous King, help me build the Virtue of Courage (a part of Fortitude) so I can joyfully and steadfastly face unjust attacks and persecution against me with dignity and meet the severe trials in my life as a heroic sacrifice in union with Your Holy Cross.