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3.-Jesus is arrested, handed over, treated with contempt

January 2001

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Jesus is arrested:

By arresting someone, we prevent them from going where they want to go. Their inner drive is broken, relationships are thrown into chaos, lines of communication are severed and plans thwarted.

In your presence, Lord, we call to mind those who have been arrested - some because they have committed crimes, others because they have said what they think, what they believe, what they are committed to achieving. We pray that the innocent may walk free, that the guilty may receive a fair trial, and that the dignity of each be respected

Jesus is handed over:

To hand someone over is to put him in somebody else’s hands. We also hand over things that have been purchased to the buyer. A person can become a mere thing, in the hands of men; the subject of calculations, a bargaining counter.

Lord, we pray for those who are being held as hostages, enslaved to pleasure or to production, bargained over like objects; we pray for all those who have been made to disappear, in pursuit of political strategies or for any other reason. We pray for all those who pool their efforts and work together for the liberation of these victims.

Jesus is questioned:

Those who exercise authority fear dissidents and opposition. They query the intentions and aims of those who seek to change society for the better. They ask them questions. In the hands of those who have power, a question is a powerful weapon. It is used to invade the mind and memory, and to intimidate, humiliate, to extract confessions. It is no coincidence that the words interrogation and inquisition have become synonymous with torture.

Lord, we call to mind those who are brought before a court to answer for their acts and their initiatives, and we remember also those responsible for investigating their cases.

We remember comrades, friends, activists, journalists, intellectuals, pastors of every kind, leaders of opinion, and all those many who have nothing but words as the tools that provide them with some means of living amongst their fellow men and serving them. May they be enabled to continue their work of throwing light and providing information, for the sake of ascertaining the truth.

Jesus is treated with contempt:

To strike someone is, whatever the circumstances, to commit a serious act. An act which signifies a breakdown in the way two people relate to each other, a rejection of civility, an outburst of uncontrollable anger, an act of violence which constitutes a physical attack on another human being. The act of striking springs from the fact of conflict, and may open the door to a whole range of inhuman and degrading behaviour. Torture starts with contempt and lack of respect for the human person. That was what Jesus was subjected to.

Lord, we pray for all those subjected to torture under interrogation, in detention, during military operations; we pray for those raped and threatened with murder in front of their families, those subjected to humiliations of all kinds, whose reputations and honour are trampled underfoot.

May those responsible for ensuring that justice is done and for upholding peace be imbued with a sense of what human dignity is.

Jesus utterly forsaken?

We feel forsaken when we feel that nobody cares whether we exist or not; when we feel abandoned to our fate, bereft of any of the support we are legitimately entitled to expect from others.

Lord, we remember those who amid their suffering and its injustice feel crushed by the silence and indifference of public opinion, and for whom being forgotten in this way is an experience of living death, since nobody seems to care, and even their friends and relations stand far off.

Lord, you cried out in agony and despair because Your Father had forsaken you; hear the groans of those who are bereft of hope. Help us to find the words and the gestures which will bring us closer to one another, so that they may know that we are with them in their agony and offer them our real and living support

Jesus alive

Even though victims often die as a result of torture, its basic purpose is not to bring about the victim’s death. Those who emerge from the hell of torture bear terrible physical and mental scars. Financial compensation alone will not make good the suffering they endure. Legal and psychological help is needed, and warmth of human companionship, if they are to learn how to live and hope again after the darkness and despair they have known.

Lord Jesus, risen from the dead, you carried in your flesh the marks of your crucifixion and agony. Hear our prayers for all those who offer torture survivors the hand of friendship and solidarity; who take the time to listen to them and understand them; to give them the help they seek. May those who have suffered, and those who listen to them tell of their suffering, be strong in your strength and in the assurance that their fears and pain will yield to the life-giving strength of a human solidarity forged by naming and acknowledging hideous suffering and sharing it. Grant all of them hearts aflame with the desire to live, by being yourself present with them as they take the road back to the light of life together.

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