Recently, I visited the Holy Lands and made the Palm Sunday walk down the Mount of Olives. One of our stops along the route was Dominus Flevit, where Jesus wept for Jerusalem. On that hillside were thorn trees that are believed to have been the same type of thorns used to crown Jesus at the beginning of His passion. The size and thickness of those thorns was staggering, and the vision has not left me. In fact, I have been almost fixated on those thorns for weeks now, and I think I have finally figured out why.
For years, I pictured those thorns the same way most of us probably pictured them, like thorns from a rose bush or a blackberry bush. Those annoying, little thorns that catch on your clothes as you walk by, and prick your finger when you try to cut off a rose or gather a bucket of berries. Never had I imagined the thorns as anything other than small nuisances. Yes, they were sharp, and yes, they would have drawn blood and caused pain, but in comparison to everything else that Jesus went through, were they really all that bad? Was I ever wrong about that! I can barely stomach the thought of those long, thick, sharp-as-a-spear thorns digging into Jesus’ scalp, his forehead, his skull. But that’s not the worst of it, not at all the reason why I can’t let the image go. Read more