«Christ obedient to death»: We stop handing him a sponge soaked in vinegar over his mouth

- Easter Triduum 2020 —



(Second meditation: Good Friday)


[…] for twenty centuries that bucket of vinegar is under the cross, in fact today it overflows. Let's throw it away, that bucket, avoiding to go on undeterred to put a sponge soaked in vinegar on the face of Christ, except then to feel at peace with our consciences and, if called to our responsibilities as men and Christians, defend yourself by saying that the fault is always of others.


Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo



I offer to the readers of The Island of Patmos three meditations for this year Easter Triduum 2020, in a situation perhaps unique in its own way in the history of the Church: for security reasons, Public celebrations of the sacred liturgy in the presence of the people were suspended in all our churches as a result of the pandemic coronavirus.

Three dedicated meditations through which attempts to correct, with kindness and severity, but always in a spirit of truth and charity, the great plague spread today in the Catholic world: the allergy obedience and faith do it yourself. This second is Good Friday meditation.


From the island of Patmos, 10 April 2020

Good Friday








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19 replies
  1. David Maria
    David Maria says:

    Dear Don Ariel, there is an official version of the reason why Jesus unlike the two Thieves who were tied up, he was fixed to the cross with nails? If they had wanted him to die quickly, the amazement sounds strange (who I don't remember, Pontius Pilate?) on his quick demise. Someone was really afraid that He could escape him in a mysterious way as had already happened for example on the cliff in Nazareth and therefore to avoid “surprises” they wanted “fix it” definitively? Thanks for the answer.

  2. Anthony Boniface
    Anthony Boniface says:

    father ariel, I know that this time you took a blunder and maybe two.
    I suffer from COPD, a disease that made me disabled by decreasing respiratory function to minimum levels. I am therefore in the 'lucky'’ condition to know with a certain approximation that I will die, but not when I die and should die – with legitimate honor – like the one who was on Golgotha. I therefore assure you that during any respiratory crisis, albeit mild, interposition obstructing the breath facilitates collapse rather than lengthening the life of a single instant.
    The “cognac of the Romans” it's okay for a faint but not for a respiratory crisis.
    This is the diagnosis:
    “Jesus hangs for about three hours, give her 12 Everyone 15. The sentence stipulates that man will go out like this. "Now Christ, to be able to breathe, must go through a cyclic painful lifting on the ankles pierced by the nails and wrists in order to move the chest, to then fall very painfully hanging from the wrists ". Agony consists precisely in this: a rise and fall along the vertical pole. The executioners can prolong or shorten the torture according to needs and circumstances. In the case of Jesus, you have to do it quickly enough, because everything is concluded before Saturday.

    Jesus dies from a variety of causes. There is the slow asphyxiation caused by chest over-tension and therefore respiratory insufficiency. There is accumulation of blood in the lower limbs (because of the hanging position) and therefore hypovolemia, loss of blood volume, and hypovolemic shock, which leads to syncope with cardiac arrest. Hence the cardio-respiratory failure, hence cardiac asystole: the amount of blood that reaches the heart is so insufficient as to cause a myocardial infarction ".

  3. Filelleno
    Filelleno says:

    Reverend Father Ariel, thanks for the beautiful catechesis of these days. I would recommend that you also publish them on Google Podcast in audio format (as father Ivano), so I save myself a little’ cell phone battery.
    I wanted to ask you, at last, a clarification to his sentence on “crazy mystics”: she also includes canonized people?
    Thank you in advance and I wish you a happy Easter to you and to all the priests of the blog.

    • father ariel
      Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo says:

      I didn't explain the joke, it is true, limiting myself to a sentence of few words.
      I was referring to certain currents of seventeenth-century pietism and pseudo-mysticism.
      As for the audio, we will do as soon as possible.

  4. Pinus Cembra
    Pinus Cembra says:

    Best wishes to all the Fathers of the Island of Patmos and their collaborators for a Holy Easter! The Risen One can always assist you in your precious service, especially in this period.

  5. Laura
    Laura says:

    I sincerely thank Father Ariel and the fathers of the island of Patmos.
    I converted to a mature age and I know little about Catholic doctrine, thanks also to the precious work of this site I can understand and learn a lot.
    God bless you
    I wish everyone a Holy Easter

  6. Manuela
    Manuela says:

    Caro Father. I listened to the two lessons and found them edifying. But the risk of DIY faith is inherent in these times: a priest to whom my husband and I turned for a confession replied that “enough” ask for forgiveness before a crucifix. If we had weak faith, I don't think we would struggle to confess anymore…that's enough…but not only, an online Catholic magazine, today he proposes that the Easter vigil is emulated in families with a ritual of light, etc.…and follow the masses online? E’ strange , in the living room, who in pajamas who not…Personally, I found myself facing the question in another way.
    When the tragedy of the covid began with all the repercussions, including economic ones, I can't hide that I was taken with anguish. And I felt lost if not angry about the decisions of the Church. And I felt all my poverty: poor because of anguish, poor because lost. I was brought up to take mine seriously “Human”, in the sense that I can only start from there, from what happens to me. In a catechesis , Sister Emmanuel, he said that in the moment of trial the only thing we can do is immerse ourselves in the heart of Jesus. So I gave myself a prayer rule, a holy hour with Jesus every day before the tabernacle, in my parish church which fortunately I can reach in two minutes.
    I would also ask the father for a reflection on the women and the apostle who did not flee and witnessed the crucifixion.
    A warm greeting

  7. orenzo
    orenzo says:

    Dearest father Ariel, before discussing the human nature of Jesus, I await his response to my other intervention.
    As for the jar of vinegar and the barrel with which they put the vinegar close to his mouth, I meditated:
    – on the vinegar that previously was good wine, party wine…
    – on the vase (utensil), which in Greek metaphorically indicates the body in which the soul lives…
    – on the barrel (hyssop), literally the hyssop plant, plant used by the Jews in their purification ritual aspersions…
    and my fantasy went to the wine of the wedding at Cana that, within some “villages”, it turns into vinegar and is brought to Jesus with the plant of the “purification of Jews”: everything is truly accomplished…

    • father ariel
      Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo says:

      Dear Orenzo,

      the answer to his interpretation, finds it in the articulated answer that, to a question about vinegar, I gave Mario's comment.

      • orenzo
        orenzo says:

        Blessed Evangelist John always describes real facts by alluding, almost in transparency, to supernatural facts:
        – she replied to Mario that she had spoken of posca remembering that there were also drinks to stun the condemned (Marco's wine and myrrh and Matteo's wine and gall) ;
        – I have instead talked about wine turned into vinegar I bring to Jesus through the plant used for the purification of the Jews, fact that reminded me of the water for the purification of the Jews turned into wine of the festival and made me meditate on how, one of the great pains suffered by Jesus on the cross was, most likely, taking note of how we men had “used” His gifts.

        • father ariel
          Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo says:

          … it is only to her, got into poetry, the essential element escapes?
          I tried to talk about the physical pain of Christ, referring several times to the image of the immolated Lamb.
          He has no idea what the torture of a crucifixion is?
          Ask a medical examiner or pathologist what this entails on a physical level.
          But, if it is important for you to discuss poetics and symbolism, go ahead, is free to do so.

          • orenzo
            orenzo says:

            … but she has no idea which one “poetic” moral pain is necessary to sweat blood?
            Ask a medical examiner or pathologist…
            But, if it is important for her to leave out the poetic moral pains of Christ, go ahead, is free to do so.

          • father ariel
            Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo says:

            "The poetic moral pains of Christ".

            What to tell her, I surrender to such a high level of mysticism and spirituality, because my limits prevent me from reaching to understand and to perceive. E’ my problem, due to the big personal limits I have to face.

  8. Maria Cristina
    Maria Cristina says:

    Christ was obedient until death at the will of God , not to that of Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin or the Romans.
    You blame us today for not being obedient to the new Caiaphas disguised as Catholic bishops and to Caesar impersonated by this ridiculous government.
    The saying to give Caesar what is Di Cesare and to God what is of God, you have transformed it into giving Caesar what belongs to God .
    To have taken away Holy Week from the just devotion of the faithful to bow to the decrees of the political authorities .

    • father ariel
      Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo says:


      to those like you you could talk for whole days without any result, because you will continue undeterred to distort any word and concept for the sole purpose of saying “I'm right you are wrong”.
      Therefore I must apply the Gospel warning that commands me:

      «Whichever city or village you enter, do yourself whether there is worthy, and stay there until you leave. Entering the house, salute. If the house is worthy, your peace come upon it; but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you. Whoever will not receive you or will not listen to your words, leave that house or town and shake the dust off your feet. Truly, I say, the day of judgment the land of Sodom and Gomorrah shall be more tolerable fate of that city '. [Mt 10, 11-15]

      As long as he continues to reason in this way, she will be part of the lost, with which it would only be a waste of time to talk, thus bringing an affront to the grace of God, given that there are many docile and open-minded people who seek, if anything, a guide and comfort and if anything, Unfortunately, they can't always find it.

      around the world, there are many groups of people who have detached themselves from the Catholic Church claiming to be them, the true and authentic Church, while we all, variously defined as traitors, heretics, apostates, or those of the “one such” in the wake of the "usurper heretic Bergoglio", we are satanics at the service of the antichrist.

      Choose one of these groups as you like and don't go around bothering others with these comments, especially in these Easter days and especially on the columns of The Island of Patmos.

      And remember the final sentence of this warning: ' Verily I say, the day of judgment the land of Sodom and Gomorrah shall be more tolerable fate of that city ', because he's talking to people like her, it is of little use that you distort the words.

  9. Mario
    Mario says:

    A nice meditation. I can add,as a simple non-theologian lay person, a small possible interpretation “do it yourself”? That jar of vinegar, it may have been the drink of the Roman legionaries, which was made up of water mixed with vinegar. Such a drink was called “posca”. It was considered refreshing and refreshing and indeed,trying to reproduce it, I had,drinking it,this feeling. I therefore consider that gesture, the only gesture of compassion of man towards the suffering and dying Christ. May Christ deliver his spirit to the Father after this tiny gesture of human compassion, it seems to me the first fruit of God's love for us revealed in Christ, the first fruit of his death which is’ capable of arousing even in cruelty, the awakening to tenderness and love.

    • father ariel
      Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo says:

      Mario Caro,

      His comment is very interesting, of which thank you, while in these days weeps and accusations are multiplying not to end by subjects who are not willing to listen to anything they try to say and explain to them, as you can see on this comments page.

      The Romans tended to be particularly cruel, when we performed the crucifixion, that it was such a shameful punishment that, Roman criminal law, it forbade it to be imposed on any Roman citizen, had also committed the most serious crime. Indeed, the Blessed Apostle Paul, who was a Roman citizen, he was not crucified on the Vatican Hill like Peter who was a Jewish citizen, but in compliance with the Roman penal law he was beheaded at the Salvian Waters.

      In the Gospel of Blessed Evangelist Mark, reference is also made to another drink: «They brought Jesus to the place of the Golgotha, what does it mean “Place of the skull”, and they gave him wine mixed with myrrh, but he didn't take it " (MC 15,22-23)». This mixture of wine mixed with myrrh was a drink similar in all respects to an opiate whose purpose was to soothe the pain, therefore prolong life and agony. But Christ rejects it, as this Gospel passage narrates.

      From all this we deduce that they were offered to him, for different but similar purposes, both of these drinks, as they used to do, but both for purposes far from merciful. Indeed, many of the condemned, on the crosses they died almost immediately. However, the Romans needed to prolong their torture, to exhibit the agonizing as a visible warning, for example to those who tried to rebel against imperial authority.

      If we think about what the crucifixion was and how Christ died on the cross, we'd like – and it is understandable – that man has shown despite his cruelty, at least a minimal gesture of humanity, but unfortunately it was not so.

      • Cippalippa
        Cippalippa says:

        “As long as he continues to reason in this way, she will be part of the lost, with which it would only be a waste of time to talk, thus bringing an affront to the grace of God, given that there are many docile and open-minded people who seek, if anything, a guide and comfort and if anything, Unfortunately, they can't always find it”

        How much truth in these 4 lines

        Thank you Father Ariel

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