Were You There?

scourging

6. Jesus is Scourged and Crowned with Thorns. I am a Roman soldier assigned to the garrison in Jerusalem. I have so often witnessed the torture of criminals, I have learned not to care anymore. When a man sentenced to death is handed over to us, we turn vicious and vengeful. We fail to see them as persons. And violence against them was an acceptable outlet for our rage. I was there when Jesus of Nazareth was beaten and crowned with thorns. We mistreated him, and humiliated him. His silence egged us on. Yet it made our sport even more foolish. How can we hate someone so intensely, when he never hated us back?

We pray. Hate is a strong word. I use it against those so evil, I cease to see them as children of God. I use it against abusers of children, and those who take advantage of the weak. I use it against those I cannot love. But if I hate those who hate me, have I not become that which I despise? The only Christian response to hate is compassion. That is why forgiveness is an irrational response. But it is the only way to end the cycle of hate. You show us the power of forgiveness when you asked your Father to forgive your enemies. Teach me to let go of bitterness; set me free from the chains of resentment.

Rolo B Castillo © 2014