7 – Mary at Scourging of her Son– Mother of holiness and sorrow
“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!”
When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!” All the people answered, “His blood is on us and on our children!” Then he released Barabbas to them. But he had Jesus flogged, and handed him over to be crucified. Then the governor’s soldiers took Jesus into the Praetorium and gathered the whole company of soldiers around him. Matthew 27:22-26
Today’s post marks the beginning of our Lord’s walk to the cross. Unfamiliar territory for both Mary and Jesus, they will come upon great sorrow for what is unleashed from the minds of men who do not know their creator. No longer do they remember his ride into Jerusalem on a donkey… the loud cheers and waving palm branches had been changed to insults, spit and unnecessary blows.
I never meant for my weaknesses and sinfulness to effect anyone. Truly, I was surprised when my “new venture” in network marketing failed so miserably. I started blogging in 2013 because I was into healthy eating and exercise. I wanted others to enjoy the fruits of what I found through good eating and an exercise plan. But then came the snag by this marketing guru… and they had a better plan. Thinking they knew more than I did; that aligning myself with them would set me up with wealth, health and a great following – which is what I wanted so that I could fix everyone in my family who had money issues, I was swept up into it. Napoleon Hill here I came. (N.H. is the author of “Think and grow rich.”)
What could our holy mother have felt seeing such force and brutality projected upon her son? How could people change so quickly from love to hate? For me the answer is the great influencer; satan himself, making the suggestions to turn inward and accuse those who question our every step, thought or action. Our concupiscence and weakness follows and sin becomes front and center. We cast the first stone, throw the dagger, pierce the heart of Christ. And Mary looks on, knowing her son is innocent but given this sentence by the Father to bear all these wounds.
Unfamiliar territory myself, I was led into a tangled web of confusion and lies plus some truth. I understood I needed to be trained and that cost money. Instead of making money now from ads on my blogs, I was paying the firm to post, to attend endless webinars, classes and trainings where they would go on and on about how they did it. I just needed one more session, tool, or person to follow me. Thousands of dollars into it, hours and hours of time in front of the computer and notebooks full of information, I was no longer free to post about health and exercise. Now I needed someone to do what I had done so that I could recoup what I lost. Positive thinking was the guru’s answer. Always stay positive, upbeat and show them how in it all you are a happy, healthy person. There could be no cross.
I can’t imagine every sin in the world, much less their effect. The flogging would come after such extreme humility to not speak out to Pilate and tell him the truth about the Pharisees; about the great setup that occurred during the night. Mary was not in the garden with Jesus as our sins came upon him and he sweat blood. Yet the closeness of their walk to the cross would give her the inclination – a deep sense of grief – that something was occurring to cause her son such great sorrow that her own heart was splitting. These were the people she had rejoiced with in healings, the breaking of bread and in learning of the Father’s great mercy and desire to draw his chosen people to himself. How could they change so much? The greed in their hearts to make themselves a god; to reign over another and to yield their power took over their softened hearts. The influencer only had to show them how this man made them feel uncomfortable; made them think they would have to change and in doing so it could be painful. And he would say into your ear, you don’t want pain, but gain. You don’t want a cross.
I had not made a dime yet – the money I hoped to make to pay off my brothers debt was not materializing and now I was in debt too. The greed in my own heart with thoughts of how I was going to be the savior for others was losing way to hopelessness. Over the course of many months I became friends with several people and had side conversations with them as to how they were doing and what their expectations were with the firm. I found Christians who believed that God had set them there to be able to fund their missions and had great faith. Others believed it was the universe we needed to reach out to and then all would be well. It was only when I presented a plan to give my testimony through several blog posts and tried it out on a friend that it all came crashing down. She told me how the higher power had to be the universe and if we would all just think hard and focus on the same thing it would come true. My beliefs in Christ and his healing power were nonsense to her and I was throwing away everything unless I gave it up and came to know the real truth.
Mary might have been close to the Praetorium when the scourging occurred. She might have heard the blows on Jesus’ back. She might have cleaned up the blood once he was taken away. Regardless as to what she experienced, she knew he was bearing the weight of something very heavy and yet could not be taken away. Once more, Simeon’s prophesy came to life – a sword will pierce your heart – he will be the rise and fall of many. The camps were split – those who turned on him and those who cried all night long. She could not turn back time, undo what was set in motion at the wedding at Cana. She had to walk with him in this great trial – surrendering once more to the pain and anguish of knowing what her son would bear for mankind. No one, especially a mother like our Blessed Mother, born without sin but great in compassion and meekness; simple and kind; mild and most often without the comfort of understanding, yet accepting. She knew the truth – this was the Son of God and if this was asked of him he had to walk to the cross. She also knew he would not be alone – that she would walk with him.
It was a shock to me that my friend had this belief. I then realized how far off course I had gotten. This work with the firm became my own god – a desire to put my so called abilities and reliance on self in front of my faith in Christ. I, I, I was what I heard in my ears. Yet Christ died for me – he silently gave his life for me to be offered to his Father. When I looked back over that past year of marketing in this way I saw how much time I took from family; money I spent we didn’t have and loss of of time with Christ. I often tried to package it in a holy way but it was pretty clearly not holy, but greedy and self serving. It was a great lesson in humility and a loss too – had I spent the money helping my brother instead of trusting in a stranger to help me make thousands, God would have been there in a better way.
I couldn’t have flogged myself more when I realized how much I hurt those around me – and God – with this diversion from my original goal. But that is the work of the influencer. He took something small – and good – and twisted it in my thinking. The firm was morally incorrect yet had the appearance of goodness to be found. The Lord allowed me to pick up this cross of humility and surrender to my self reliance – to turn to a greater trusting in him. I immediately broke all ties and opted out of everything. I spent the next year working for a real firm using the skills but none of the self-promoting, get another in the game so we can take from him situation. Christ allowed Pilate to have him flogged and led to the cross for our sake. He showed us the way – that it isn’t the easy way – the positive thinking way – but often the very hard way of self surrender and trust that God’s way – planned out before we were born – is the only way. Mary knew this when she gave her fiat. May we all find our fiat daily and offer it for all mankind to wake up – to think and grow in the grace of God for who we are and what we can do for him with the aid of his holy and blessed Mother – who will never abandon us but help us to unite our crosses to her son’s cross.
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