Oh, Those Soft Little Scourges

A Rosary Meditation: The Second Sorrowful Mystery, the Scourging. “They bound Jesus and delivered him to Pilate. And Pilate asked him, ‘Art thou the king of the Jews?’ ” Mark 15:1-2.

Simple question, wasn’t it? You’d think that the answer would be just as simple. Yes or no. That’s not complicated, is it? But in this case, well, things aren’t as simple as they look. Yes, Jesus certainly was king of the Jews. But a real answer would’ve included much more than the expected yes or no. Because his kingship involved his being THE prophet Israel had so long waited for. And the longed for Messiah. And a priest, high priest, after the order of Melchizedek. And the ultimate sacrifice for sin. Not to mention his being the Creator of the universe.

Have you ever had someone ask you a loaded question? Ever had someone ask something like, “Why do Catholics … ?” And after you answer their question a sort of verbal scourging starts. After the answer, which normally isn’t listened to because the other person is to intent on thinking about what they’re going to tell you if you’d just shut up, the next thing you hear is usually, “Well, I think … ” And they proceed to set you straight. After all, they have several decades (sometimes) of thought without real study under their belt. You’ve got nothing much. Just God’s Church indwelt by the Holy Spirit, 2,000 years worth of the magisterium  being lead by the Holy Spirit, numerous Church councils lead by the Holy Spirit, and Papal Infallibility as a result of God’s Holy Spirit. When this sort of thing happens I want to interrupt and apologize. “Oh, I apologize. I thought your question was an honest one. I didn’t realize you only wanted an opportunity to tell me what you think. I guess I should’ve asked.” And with a raised eyebrow as punctuation right at the end for emphasis. Now, there are definitely times to speak out loudly. But often as not its best to just smile and not say what your thinking. Which is the better of the two responses. Honestly I try not to say the above lines. But, oh, I want to. I think that some of the teeth I’ve lost I lost due to gritting them. So I try to smile. Smiles rarely alienate. But for something that takes so few facial muscles, boy, they can be hard to muster.

The above is just meant to be an illustration taken from everyday life. One that lots of us have probably suffered through. There are others just as apt. Of course listening to someone who really doesn’t know what they’re talking about and what happened to Jesus after Pilates question don’t come anywhere close to being comparable. But the comparison makes a point. Scourges come in various shapes and sizes. Some are only four or five inches long and soft.

“And if any man think himself to be religious, not bridling his tongue, but deceiving his own heart, this man’ s religion is vain.” James 1:26, Douay-Rheims.

Just a thought … When the world kicks in gear, and it will, and begins to set you straight about your faith without your having to ask remember that Jesus kept his mouth shut during most of what happened from the garden to the cross. And rather than wield a scourge of your own just smile. Even when it hurts.



  1. Hi,
    How do you define a person who is “religious”?

    • Well, theological definitions aside, I’d say a religious person, truly religious and not just casual in their beliefs, is a person who gives their heart and soul, their whole life, over to what they believe and then follows. In Christianity the One followed would be Jesus. So for me, as a Christian, someone who is honestly religious would be someone who sincerely follows Christ. And this person would love God more than anything, and their neighbor as themselves. 🙂 How would you define a religious person?

      • A person who follows the instructions of his/her religion strictly. For example, I am Christian but I do not pray or fast (mostly). I have a personal relationship between me and God.To the people around me, I am theistic-agnostic. After all, “if we understood him, He would not be God”.

  2. Oh, yes, I’ve been asked, “Why do Catholics?” I can relate to that. Some stray thoughts:

    I think Christ requires a follower to take up his (the follower’s) cross, not Christ’s cross (Mt 16:24)–in other words, to accept the cross God sees fit to send me, not to reject my cross in order to seek some other cross of my choosing. Yet, a Christian can, without rejecting the cross God sends him, go beyond his duty by helping someone else bear their cross, as did Simon of Cyrene (Mt 27). We resemble Simon when we are made to suffer a verbal scourging because of our faith. The scourging is not really aimed at the follower, but at the One he follows. We respond with gentle compassion to a child of God whose spirit aches and seeks a peace which transcends human understanding (Phil 4:7). In such a moment, we are helping Christ bear His cross. Thus, He promises: “Blessed are you when men revile you for my sake. . . . Your reward in heaven is great.” (Mt 5:10-11)

    I really like your posts, J-M. They give me much to think about. Thank you, my friend. Remembering you in my prayers each day. God bless!

    • I am glad for your prayers, thank you. Today I think I like your thought better than mine. 🙂

  3. This brought a big smile to my face…..brightened my day!

    • I’m glad. 😉

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