CHRIST’S KINDNESS IN HIS PASSION Our Lady will give us a deeper understanding of Christ’s kindness in His passion through the five Mysteries of Sorrow.
I. THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN ”Jesus touched his ear and healed him.” Luke 22:51
WE might expect that Jesus would be so preoccupied with His sufferings on Good Friday that He would not have any time for anything else. The night before He had given Himself in the Eucharist; now He was giving His life. Surely that is enough “compassion on the multitudes.” But no; even in His Passion, Jesus “went about doing good.” In Olivet, He invited His disciples to share His agony with Him; when they slept, He forgave; He called Judas His friend; He ordered His captors to let the disciples go free; and with a touch, He healed the slashed ear of Malchus, who had come to take Him captive.
Jesus did not omit little acts of kindness, even in His terrible suffering. That is the test of a loving heart.
II. THE SCOURGING AT THE PILLAR ”If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong; but if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” John 18:23
THE mob had no difficulty with their divine Prisoner. They wished to kill Him, and He was willing to die; except in their motives, there was no conflict. When the high priest’s servant slapped His face, Jesus shamed him with the gentlest possible reproach: “I spoke no evil. Why did you strike me?” When Peter denied Jesus three times, Peter wept. Jesus looked beyond his fear-based denial and saw the man to whom He would say, “feed my lambs.” Judas would have been forgiven, too, but he judged his crime too great for Jesus to overlook. How little he understood the kindness of Christ!
To forgive is divine; Jesus proved that. I am most like Him when I act kindly towards those who have hurt me.
III. THE CROWNING WITH THORNS ”That day Herod and Pilate became friends.” Luke 23:12
GOD is so merciful that He does not begrudge earthly blessings even to the wicked. In our Lord’s parable, Abraham called to the rich man across the chasm between heaven and hell: “In your lifetime you had many good things.” That was the reward the rich man had set his whole heart on, and God allowed him to have it. Often, in exposing the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Jesus remarked, “Amen, they have had their reward.” And in His Passion, Jesus Himself was the instrument whereby two evil men, Herod and Pilate, became fast friends – “whereas before they had been enemies.”
God is kind even to those who will have no part with Him, here or hereafter. He wants me to imitate Him.
IV. THE CARRYING OF THE CROSS ”On their way out they came across a man from Cyrene, Simon by name and enlisted him to carry his cross.” Matt. 27:32
THE journey up and down narrow, dusty streets from the Praetorium to Calvary must have been a nightmare for the worn-out Christ with a cross on His back. But Jesus was never too tired to console His friends. He filled the Cryenean’s heart with a strange, delightful peace and joy. Gently He told the mourning women to hold back their tears for their children. He left the image of His Face on Veronica’s veil, repaying her sympathy with a miracle of thoughtfulness. And His Mother Mary found the strength to bear her sorrow in a glance from Her Son as He passed.
The fruit of suffering well borne is sensitivity to others who suffer. If I bear trials and pains patiently, as Christ did, I’ll be kind and consoling to others, as Christ was.
V. THE CRUCIFIXION ”Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43
AT the summit of His suffering – His agony on the cross – Jesus simply radiated His divine mercy. While His enemies were pounding nails through His hands and feet, He forgave them, and prayed for their repentance. His first word on the upraised cross was a promise of Paradise to His crucified companion who a short while before had reviled Him. Jesus gave Mary to John to be the whole world’s dearest mother. And a moment before His death He cried out to His Father with a voice so mighty that the centurion, as if echoing that cry, was forced to confess: “Indeed, this man was the Son of God!”
Jesus, be as kind to me as You are to other sinners. And give me Your merciful heart.