I suppose we’ve all at some point been mocked and made fun of. My mother used to say that I needed to learn to laugh at myself, that they were laughing with me, not at me…and sometimes, probably, that was true. But sometimes they were laughing at me, and they meant their words to wound. This was certainly the case when they crowned Christ with thorns. If the flogging was oddly impersonal, just par for the course, the mockery, the spitting, and the slapping was directed at the man who had presumed to raise himself above his fellows, had presumed to make himself the King of the Jews, and was now brought low. Here we see spite in action, and anger, and cruelty, spite triggered by the presence of a defenseless victim.
And it was directed at the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed One, the Son of the Father, the Word of God, through whom was made all that was made. They didn’t know this, mind you; few did. For God chose to hide His glory in an earthen vessel, and only those with eyes and love to see even had an inkling of it. The rest, including Jesus’ tormentors, were blind.
It isn’t a pretty sight, this soul-destroying feeding frenzy; and yet, it is all too human. It happens on playgrounds all over the world; it happens to the innocent in the hands of ISIS. It happens to a lesser degree when we belittle and mock our political and social adversaries on Facebook, when we demonize them and so rate them as other than human, as not having the dignity of human beings made in the image of God.
Mother Teresa tells us to look for the face of Christ in the poor; but we also need to look for His face in the faces of all those we despise, and deride, and mock. The Roman soldiers were blind, but we must not be.
When have you been blind to the face of Christ in others? Should you do anything about it?
Copyright 2015 by William H. Duquette
Image by Caravaggio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons