When Our Lord arrives at Calvary, he is given some wine to drink mixed with gall, as a narcotic to lessen in some way the pain of the crucifixion. But Jesus, after tasting it to show his gratitude for that kind service, has not wanted to drink (cf. Matt 27:34). He gives himself up to death with the full freedom of Love.
Then, the soldiers strip Christ of his garments.
From the soles of his feet to the top of his head, there is nothing healthy in him: wounds and bruises and swelling sores. They are not bound up, nor dressed, nor anointed with oil (Isai 1:6).
The executioners take his garments and divide them into four parts. But the cloak is without seam, so they say:
It would be better not to tear it, but let us cast lots for it to see whose it shall be (John 19:24).
Thus, Scripture is again fulfilled: They divided my garments among them, and upon my vesture they cast lots (Ps 21:19).
Despoiled, stripped, left in the most absolute poverty. Our Lord is left with nothing, save the wood of the Cross.
For us to reach God, Christ is the way; but Christ is on the Cross, and to climb up to the Cross we must have our heart free, not tied to earthly things.
Points for meditation
1. From the praetorium to Calvary, the insults of the maddened crowd, the harshness of the soldiers, the mockery of the Sanhedrin, have rained down upon Jesus. . . Scorn and blasphemy . . . Not a single complaint, no word of protest. Not even when, without any consideration, they tear the garments from his skin.
Here I see how foolish I have been to make excuses, and to utter so many empty words. A firm resolution: to work and to suffer for my Lord, in silence.
2. The body of Jesus covered in wounds is truly a portrait of sorrows...
In contrast, I now remember so much comfort-seeking, so many whims, so much apathy, and meanness... And that false compassion with which I treat my body.
Lord, by your Passion and Cross, give me the strength to practise mortification of my senses and to uproot everything that can separate me from you.
3. You who tend to lose heart, I will tell you something that is very consoling: when a person does what he can, God will not deny his grace. Our Lord is a Father, and if, in the silence of his heart, one of his sons says to him: 'My Father in Heaven, here am I, help me... ' If he goes to the Mother of God, who is our Mother, he will get through.
But God is demanding. He asks us to love him truly; he does not want traitors. We must be faithful in this supernatural struggle, which makes us happy on earth by dint of sacrifice.
4. The real obstacles that separate you from Christ pride, sensuality... are overcome through prayer and penance. And to pray and to mortify oneself is also to take care of others and to forget oneself. If you live like this you will see how most of the setbacks you meet will disappear.
5. When we strive to be really ipse Christus, Christ himself, then in our own lives the human side intermingles with the divine. All our efforts, even the most insignificant, take on an eternal dimension, because they are united to the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.