V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we
From the book of the prophet Isaiah 53:4-6
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that made us whole, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.
The Gospels do not record Jesus falling beneath the cross, yet this ancient tradition is very likely. We have only to remember that, before taking up his cross, Jesus had been flogged at Pilate’s command. After all that had happened after nightfall in the Garden of Olives, his strength would have been, for all intents and purposes, spent.
Before turning our attention to the most profound and interior aspects of Jesus’ passion, let us take a moment to consider the physical pain that he was forced to endure. Enormous, awful pain, even to his last breath on the cross, a pain which had to be frightful.
Physical suffering is the easiest type of pain to eliminate, or at least to ease, with our modern techniques and practices, with anaesthetics or other pain treatments. Even though, for many reasons, whether natural or due to human behaviour, a massive amount of physical suffering continues to be present in the world.
In any event, Jesus did not refuse physical suffering and thus he entered into solidarity with the whole human family, especially all the many people whose lives, even today, are filled with this kind of pain. As we watch him fall beneath his cross, let us humbly ask him for the courage to break open, in a solidarity which goes beyond mere words, the narrowness of our hearts.
Pater noster, qui es in cælis:
O quam tristis et afflicta
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