Please God, more Scriptural and Patristic sources will be added to the present “rant style” meditations when circumstances at Holy Souls Hermitage aren’t quite so utterly barbaric.
The purpose of this first run through these mysteries is to note especially the goodness and kindness of Jesus amidst the violence and chaos back in the day… and today. Hang on, it might be a bit of a rough ride, as rough and tumble as we focus on, in this post, Jesus being scourged. Let’s take a look at Luke 23,13-25 from the old NAB plus my own translation of 23,17 from the Vulgate:
Luke 23,13 Pilate then summoned the chief priests, the rulers, and the people 14 and said to them, “You brought this man to me and accused him of inciting the people to revolt. I have conducted my investigation in your presence and have not found this man guilty of the charges you have brought against him, 15 nor did Herod, for he sent him back to us. So no capital crime has been committed by him. 16 Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.” 17 But he had the custom to release one [prisoner] unto them on a feast day. 18 But all together they shouted out, “Away with this man! Release Barabbas to us.” 19 (Now Barabbas had been imprisoned for a rebellion that had taken place in the city and for murder.) 20 Again Pilate addressed them, still wishing to release Jesus, 21 but they continued their shouting, “Crucify him! Crucify him!” 22 Pilate addressed them a third time, “What evil has this man done? I found him guilty of no capital crime. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.” 23 With loud shouts, however, they persisted in calling for his crucifixion, and their voices prevailed. 24 The verdict of Pilate was that their demand should be granted. 25 So he released the man who had been imprisoned for rebellion and murder, for whom they asked, and he handed Jesus over to them to deal with as they wished.
Typical weasel politician: “No capital crime has been committed by him. Therefore I shall have him flogged and then release him.” In other words: “Although he’s innocent, I’ll still have him beaten nearly to death (and surely the wounds will be deadly over some days), just to appease your bloodthirstiness, ’cause I’m bloodthirsty just like you. I mean, even though I truly do want to realease Him, ’cause I want to think of myself as being ‘nice’, I’ll do this anyway, ’cause I’m a coward in the face of such very loud voices like yours. Oh! O.K. O.K. I’ll just go ahead then, and not only have Him scourged, but I’ll also have Him crucified, ’cause I want to be nice! Aren’t I nice?”
Just to say, if someone is treated as somehow being a little bit guilty even though they are known to be entirely innocent, that innocent person will not be treated with just a little bit of marginalization, for that will not appease anyone. A little injustice necessarily brings totalitarian injustice in its wake as a kind of rationalization: “If we did that, it must have been necessary, right? Right?“ You can read more about that HERE.
People asked Mel Gibson why it was that he depicted the scourging of Jesus with such ferocity, when, actually, if we look at the shroud of Turin, the film seems to have portrayed quite an exact rendering of what happened (with wonderful cuts over to Mary, His Mother). I don’t remember Mel giving a very exact answer to that question. I think it was something along the lines of society needing to take a look at itself. I, for one, think that if Jesus was so good and kind as to suffer for us, we should go ahead and recognize what He did for us. My thanksgiving goes to Mel for this.
The scourging of Jesus takes people out of their comfort zone, making them nervous before the reality of how the redemption works: Jesus taking on what we deserve so as to have the right in all justice to have mercy on us. Various parts of the passion and death of our Lord seem to deal with the redemption not only of original sin, but also of personal sins committed throughout the ages. Perhaps the scourging vicariously takes on the punishment we deserve for sins of the flesh, particularly sexual sins, particularly pornography, you know, all that nicely presented “skin.” Jesus’ skin is litteraly ripped right off of Him.
Sins of the flesh, however private, cause havoc in society, turning people into selfish, egotistic monsters of self-congratulations and niceness, always more abusive of self and others, always edging more to violence. Pornography is a runaway, epidemic problem. I’ll have to write a post about pornography one of these days…
The One who is not like the rest of society — Jesus – has to be beaten down in such as way as to let all see sins of the flesh in their ultimate conclusion: when sex is not for life it is aimed at death. Lord, have mercy on us. So, for this decade of the rosary, ten Hail Marys… Hail Mary…
[ Pet peeve: "scourge" is not pronounced like "cower"[!] or “scour” as in “scourwerged” or some such thing, but like “courage” — “cur!” So, scourge (one syllable!)]