March 9: The Scourging at the Pillar

Updated: Apr 1

Tuesday of the Third Week of Lent

March 9, 2021

"So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified." Mark 15:15

There are few details in the Gospels regarding the scourging at the pillar, the second sorrowful mystery. John’s account in chapter 19 is the simplest: “Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged.”

I cannot even conceive of what it might have been like to see Jesus scourged. As Christians, we have the privilege of knowing how the story ends: with the glorification of Jesus. But what must it have been like for the disciples, Jesus’ friends, and Mary, his mother, to watch the man they loved tortured under the authority of the state? It must have been absolutely incomprehensible to see Jesus stripped of his dignity in this way.

In the age of network news and viral social media, I fear that I have become desensitized to violence. Images and videos are not only accessible, they are shown over and over, sometimes unavoidable. Through the safety of our screens, we treat violence as a spectacle.

To many of us, senseless violence seems far off, unlikely, something that happens in war movies and drama shows. To others, like those experiencing abuse, those who are victims of hate crimes, those who have lived through mass shootings, those who seek asylum after experiencing persecution in their countries of origin, it is a painful reality.

May we remember the dignity of every person and reject the glorification of violence. May we be a people of healing and hope in the face of great suffering.

These reflections are meant to challenge us on our journey through Lent. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments with us.

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