10. Jesus is nailed to the Cross
Leader: We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
All: Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Quiet moment of asking: “God Our Lord, give us the grace not to turn away from this moment when the unjust verdict against you is carried out. We ask that we might share in the pain that is yours at this moment.”
Lord, as we contemplate this final moment of the Way of the Cross, when you reached the place of crucifixion, may we know your anguish at this deepest insult and indignity, together with your physical pain. We are shocked by the way you are mistreated even before they bound and nailed your hands and feet to the Cross. May your sorrow pass into our hearts too as we contemplate all of this.
When they reached the place called The Skull, there they crucified him and the two criminals, one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; they do not know what they are doing.” Then they cast lots to share out his clothing. The people stayed there watching. As for the leaders, they jeered at him with the words, “He saved others, let him save himself if he is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.” The soldiers mocked him too, coming up to him, offering him vinegar, and saying, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.” Above him there was an inscription: “This is the King of the Jews”.
Luke 23: 33-38
NOTICE – A silent contemplation moment
We try to notice what reactions arise within us as we witness these events, perhaps even imagining ourselves as present, witnessing it all at first-hand. We become aware of his physical suffering and of his indignity as he is mocked by the police and officials, his clothing gambled for and as he is treated, in their eyes, no better than the convicted criminals beside whom he is to be executed. Jesus was terrified at this moment. What moves me, inwardly, at this moment, as I contemplate this horror and Jesus’s shocking suffering?
Good and gracious God, all over the world, peoples’ dignity and human rights are still being stripped away, even now in our time. Every single person has a dignity that you, Lord, have given to us, because we are made in your image. The people who trample on others’ dignity are just like the people who stripped your clothes off in public; they had no respect for you or for anyone else.
Jesus knew very well, as everyone did, that crucifixion was a cruel terrible punishment; death would sometimes take days. It was always carried out in public, its victims writhing in agony, and was the state’s chief deterrent, to frighten the general population. All human dignity was stripped from the condemned one.
Sometimes, Lord, I feel stripped of my own human dignity because of the way someone else has treated me without respect. Sometimes, I feel that my individuality, or perhaps my disability, has stripped me of dignity because others do not accept me for who I am. I can sense the risk of losing my own self-respect at such moments. Help, me, Lord, to keep my own self-respect. Help me to know that you value me and that I am precious in your eyes. And even help me to forgive anyone who treats me badly.
Together we pray; Lord, we want to walk beside you in your suffering. Forgive us; and help us to see you in the suffering of the poor.