“When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his clothes and divided them into four shares, one share for each soldier. They also took his tunic, which was woven seamless, top to bottom.” (John 19:23)
V. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you:
R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.
Christ went out through the city gate to the hill of Golgotha, which we know in English as ‘Calvary’. When he reached the summit, the soldiers stripped him of his clothes, leaving him naked and defenceless. Through the cross, Christ was prepared to give up even the very little he had left. This was a sign of his complete detachment from earthly things.
Detachment was a subject that Christ often spoke about. As he once said: “Life does not depend upon an abundance of one’s possessions.” (Luke 12:15) A willingness to be unconcerned about the things of this life – wealth, property, belongings, social standing – was at the very heart of his call.
On a similar note, St Paul reminds us that “we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.” (1 Timothy 6:7-8) As the apostle said elsewhere, this is the secret to true happiness. (Philippians 4:11-13)
O Jesus, by the removal of your clothes, inspire me to set my heart on the things above, not on the material things of this world. Help me to be content with what I have. Turn my heart away from selfish gain – and my eyes from what is unimportant. (Psalm 119:36-37)
Sign from the Old Testament
Joseph’s brothers stripped him of his tunic – and then covered it in blood as a sign of his death. (Genesis 37:23,31-32)
See the full image:
Unknown French artist / Tenth Station of the Cross / Painted wood carving / 1912 / Cathedral of St John the Evangelist, Portsmouth