Season of Consolation: Week Three – The Crowning with Thorns20 Mar 2019
Jesuit Communications offers a series of reflections around the five Sorrowful Mysteries. This week, we explore the Crowning with Thorns.
Parishes and prayer groups: Feel free to print out and share these reflections, attach them to parish bulletins, or post them on parish websites or Facebook pages. Download Season of Consolation Week 3 PDF.
Gospel reading: Matthew 27:27-31
In the third mystery, Jesus is crowned with thorns (Matthew 27:27-31). The soldiers mock Jesus, transposing the violence of the crowd onto his body. This is a power play which aims to remove Jesus’ dignity, but with dramatic irony, instead he is crowned. Ours is a God who identifies so much with us that he is even willing to experience rejection and total suffering by human hands. This is the day of humiliation, when the gaze of Christ consoles us.
- As Jesus is mocked by soldiers, what do you envision as his response?
- Jesus is crowned King. How do you feel called to pay him homage?
- In and through your own trials, when have you felt Jesus’ presence?
- When you are humiliated, who do you turn to for courage?
- Nimmi Candappa experiences consolation through remembering that Jesus shares our sufferings. How does this vision offer us encouragement in our own trials and challenges?
Sharing in our sorrows
Nimmi Candappa reflects on the most intense times of pain and suffering, and how Christ bears them with us.
Some time ago, a long-term dear friend, with no warning, stung me with the words, ‘You have been annoying me for years!’
With no obvious disharmony in our friendship in the years to date, I was left somewhat hurt and confused. Underlying my sensitivity to these words was the recent death of my Dad, and the pain of losing a close cousin, estranged from Church and family.
From this place of sadness, I went to Jesus for comfort. He has felt the pain of losing dear ones, losing friends who journeyed with him or who adored Him with palms and singing, only to turn their backs on him just a few days later.
He has borne the hurt of disparagement and ridicule, enthroned with crown of thorns and purple robe. He has collapsed from the physical torment of his accusers, His body bearing the full force of their hatred.
So I sat myself by Jesus, presenting my sore heart to Him for soothing. And then I remembered another, much more intense and tangible time when God reminded me that my hurts, are His hurts.
At a young age, having lost my mother to cancer, I had put on the blinkers to get through my studies. Years later, with a more robust relationship with God, I was nearing the end of a thirty-day retreat where day after day of silence had drawn me into a stillness of soul.
There I confronted God; I questioned if He really is a good and just God if, so many years ago, He refused to answer the prayer of a young girl desperate for her mother’s healing. I spiritually shook my fist at Him in anger.
In response to my anger, Jesus showed me gentleness and kindness. A beautiful image was given to me replicating the night of my mum’s death, complete with details of bedside windows at St Vincent’s hospital, of family goodbyes and sobbing and heartbreak. In this image though, kneeling at my side, arms stretched above, wailing and interceding for me, was Jesus, begging God the Father that I might not go through this suffering.
Instantly I was deeply consoled, knowing I would never understand why some are healed through prayer and others not, but reassured that God’s love is such, we do not suffer alone.
We are surely loved by a God who walks our tough journeys with us, our tears mingling. As a mother’s ear is attuned to the slightest whimper of her newborn, so too is our God, responding to our cry even before a whimper escapes our mouth.
For the Man of Sorrows, thorned, scourged, mocked and killed, has tried and tested every human suffering to ensure it will not break us. How can it, when the Creator Himself promises to lighten the load and share each sorrow.
Nirmalene Candappa is a Research Fellow who also has a deep interest in faith matters.