Bible Verse Related to the Mystery: Matthew: 5:38-39
“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, do not resist one who is evil. But if anyone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also”
I think there is no better way to reflect on this mystery than to quote the words of our Lord Himself, as he revealed to Saint Bridget of Sweden: “I was beaten on my body 6666 times, beaten on the head 110 times, pricked with thorns and pulled by the beard 23 times. I received 20 wounds on the head. The number of wounds in my body were 1000”. The number of blows Jesus received in total, were 5480, all for the love of us. And then in John 14:6, Jesus says: “I am the way” which clearly means we have to follow Him. Which means that the next time we are scourged by our neighbour, friend or relative in the form of taunts and other abuses, we need to imitate Jesus in His sufferings while He was at the hands of the soldiers. Here’s a verse from the Bible that has helped me in this struggle and will help you too.
“Even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than any sparrow” – Luke 12:7
Yes, Jesus sees every stab that you have received on your back, every blow on your head or limbs from the soldiers in your life who are in the form of colleagues, society and others. He sees every lump in your throat that you have concealed from the world. Every sorrow you bite back as you fought to put on a brave face to the world. And he rewards you for each of these efforts. Each of these efforts you put in are not going to go unseen and unrewarded by the Lord. Because the Bible does not give fake promises. And this is a commandment that comes with a big promise.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” – Matthew 5:5
Am I now ready to face that colleague who has been giving me a hard time at work with a smile or even a hug? Or am I going to turn and walk the other way, maybe even complain about him/her to a friend?
Will I be able to return that relative’s sarcastic comment with love and kindness the next time we meet, or am I going to bite back with a sharp retort?
Am I going to patch up with that friend who hurt me years ago, or am I going to still leave this person blocked from my Facebook/Whatsapp account?
Guilt, broken relationships, and finally sleepless nights. These are the things that I am rewarded each time I do not control myself when I am hurt by a neighbour or a friend. At the end, I think to myself, all that lashing out was worth it, after all, and the answer hits straight on my face. No.
While it may take a lot of practice to get out of the habit of reacting to every offence, the video of the scourging of our Lord from Mel Gibson’s The Passion of Christ had a lot to teach me. All I have to do is reflect on the verbal abuse that Jesus had to face apart from the physical abuse. I hate to mention all of them because some are too nasty to even hear but the following is the mildest among them:
“I hate to destroy his wonderful hair!”
“I will make music now”
“A cane for Him”
Believe me, there is more to come. If this was how much our Lord went through, and all in silence, then why can’t I react to the daily trials of my life, the same way Jesus did? Thinking about this led me to reflect on two lessons that I came across from the very scene in the movie.
- Jesus was constantly connected to the Father
If you were to observe the scene closely, you would notice how Jesus had frequent conversations with His Father during His entire passion. How was this possible? Can we hold a conversation with our Father when we are hurled with abuses during the day? This is where the importance of a strong personal prayer comes into play. Jesus spent 4 hours in the garden of Gethsemane.
The importance of Mama Mary
In the movie, many times, we see Jesus lock eyes with His mother during the passion, and we see this in the scourging scene too. Moral of the story? Mary gives us the grace to go through every hurdle in our life. And Jesus was kind enough to gift her to us at a time when He needed her most while struggling for His last breath on the cross.
O Jesus Christ! Eternal sweetness to those who love you, You who have proved that You have no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of man, recall all the pain and suffering that You endured in Your divine passion, when Your enemies, like furious lions, surrounded You, and with thousands of insults, spits, blows and lacerations, tormented You at will. You, O liberty of angels and paradise of delights, were crushed with blows and overwhelmed with affronts and outrages.
(Adapted from two of the famous 15 Prayers of Saint Bridget)
In consideration of all these torments and insulting words, deliver us from all evil and grant us true contrition, worthy satisfaction and remission from all our sins.
P.S.: Saying the 15 prayers of St. Bridget every day has 15 promises. The following is my favourite.
“15 days before his death, I will give him My Precious Body in order that he may escape eternal starvation and I will give him My Precious Blood to drink lest he thirsts eternally.”
Virtue to learn from Mother Mary for the day: Fortitude and Forgiveness