THIRD WEEK OF LENT: SUNDAY
Jesus accused by His People before Pilate
1st Prelude. Behold the crowd of people assembled before Pilate’s palace, vociferating against Jesus.
2nd Prelude. Ask for grace to enable you to support false imputations in a Christian spirit.
POINT I. “Pilate therefore went out to them, and said: What accusation bring you against this man? They answered and said to him: If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up to you.”
CONSIDERATION. We cannot but feel great indignation when we see the rulers of the Jews instigating the crowd to accuse Jesus, their Messiah, of a crime, and to hate Him; He who had never harmed anyone, but who had shed blessings around Him at every step. They were indeed filling up the measure of their ingratitude and unbelief.
APPLICATION. This frightful picture is daily reproduced before our eyes. Our Lord and His holy Faith are still hated, still calumniated, and often by those upon whom His best gifts have been poured; those whose rank and talents have raised them above their fellow creatures, but who only use their superiority to mislead their inferiors, and stir them up against our Lord, and against His Church. We should not, however, have bitter feelings towards them, but rather pity them; for the longer their punishment is delayed, the greater it will be.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. “Pilate therefore said to them: Take you Him, and judge Him according to your law. The Jews therefore said to him: It is not lawful for us to put any man to death.”
CONSIDERATION. The Scribes and Pharisees were the accusers of our Lord, but they would not pass sentence on Him, even when Pilate authorized them. They wanted to make Him appear more guilty in the eyes of the people by receiving His condemnation from the chief magistrate; they wanted to avert the odium of His death from themselves, and they wanted Him to be crucified, the most shameful and most cruel mode of death, and commonly used by the Romans, but seldom by the Jews, not being decreed by any of their laws, and so, under a pretense of justice, they hypocritically hid their wickedness. Without knowing or intending it, they were fulfilling prophecy, and bringing the designs of our merciful Lord to pass. He had foretold the manner of His death, and for love of us was willing to drink the cup of suffering and humiliation to the very dregs. Thus by their crimes the intentions of God were carried out.
APPLICATION. Such are and always will be the dealings of Divine Providence. Let us never give way to distrust or waver in our faith when we see the wicked obtain a momentary triumph, and succeed in their evil designs. God, who in His infinite wisdom orders the whole course of circumstances, will turn all things to His own glory and the good of His Church.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. “And they began to accuse Him, saying: We have found this Man perverting our nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, and saying that He is Christ the King.”
CONSIDERATION. Three special accusations were brought against Jesus; they accused Him of perverting the people, of refusing to pay tribute, and of assuming the name of Christ the King. The first two were notoriously false, for He had preached and practiced the exact contrary; the third was false also in the sense in which they meant it — in the sense of an earthly kingdom, in opposition to that of Caesar. It was the height of shameless insolence to utter such calumnies against the innocent in the presence of the chief judge, and before the whole nation.
APPLICATION. If our Lord was willing to become the victim of wicked calumny without defending Himself, or even being disturbed by it, should we not make little account of men’s judgment, when our own conscience tells us we have acted rightly? Have we profited by the lessons of our Divine Master? In what particular should we correct ourselves?
COLLOQUY with our Blessed Lady.