Skinned Knees

Jun 13, 2023

     This past weekend at Mass, I couldn't stop looking at the Crucifix above the altar. What drew my eyes were the skinned knees on the corpus. As I sat quietly reflecting on the bloody knees, I thought about the falls that Jesus suffered with the heavy cross on his back. I thought about how his knees caught his body as he fell to the ground time and time again. The skinned knees represent the pain and suffering that Jesus endured for each one of us. 

When was the last time that you skinned your knee?

I can remember countless numbers of skinned knees from my childhood. They are a part of growing up, being independent and trying new things. Skinning your knee can be a painful experience as it often involves a sharp stinging pain when the skin is initially scraped off followed by burning or throbbing. As you read this I bet you can relate to a skinned knee from your past. You may be able to vividly remember the feeling and what caused you to fall. 

One skinned knee I remember clearly happened at our family farm when I fell in the gravel around the barn. I was running with my cousins and tripped. As soon as my knees hit the ground the pain was sharp. In the midst of the tears, my grandmother cleaned my knees, pulled out the loose gravel and placed band-aids on them. I was reminded of the fall each time I moved for the next few days as the skin began to heal. 

As a mom and a teacher, I have helped “doctor” many skinned knees.

Like my grandmother, I became the person who would dry the tears and wipe away the blood. My children and students always knew that I would be there to help them stand up with a band-aid in hand. 

During the Mass on Sunday, I was thinking how no one wiped Jesus’ knees. He fell over and over again, yet no one ran to him to wipe away his tears or to clean and bandage his knees. He suffered alone. His mother watched helplessly from afar and was unable to “doctor” her own son’s knees. I can only imagine how her heart must have broken knowing that her son was suffering and she couldn’t help him. 

What causes you to stumble and fall?

As a Mom in the Middle, skinned knees don’t happen as often, yet I still find myself “falling” down. The falls happen because of pride, fear, self-reliance or sins in my life. Instead of bloody knees, the falls create wounds that appear as self-doubt, fear, worry, pride or jealousy. The great news is that Jesus is always there ready to pick me back up. He is there to wipe away the tears, and to clean the wound with his mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 

Each stumble and fall of Jesus represents his willingness to endure the unimaginable pain and humiliation of carrying the cross. As Jesus stumbled, his knees scraping against the rocky path, you and I are reminded of his sacrificial love, his compassion for humanity and his commitment to his Divine mission. 

I encourage you to reflect on the bloody knees of Jesus and how they are a sign of love. Jesus responds to each of my falls with love. It doesn’t matter how many times I fall and skin my knees, Jesus is there to initiate the healing process which in turn helps me grow in holiness. He will do the same for you too!

Jennie is a Catholic Life Coach, Podcaster, Weekly Radio Show Host on Nashville Catholic Radio, Speaker and founder of Catholic Moms in the Middle. She equips and encourages middle-life moms to reconnect with who they are and their unique God-given purpose so they can embrace midlife with joy and confidence.