THIRD WEEK OF LENT: TUESDAY
Interrogation of Jesus at Pilate’s Judgement Seat
1st Prelude. Behold Jesus Christ, firm yet submissive, before the Roman governor, Pontius Pilate.
2nd Prelude. Beg for grace to make this meditation well.
POINT I. “Pilate therefore went into the hall again, and called Jesus, and said to Him: Art Thou the King of the Jews? Jesus answered: My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would certainly strive that I should not be delivered thus to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from hence.”
CONSIDERATION. Jesus Christ was not King of the Jews, nor of this world, in the ordinary sense of the word; this was not His will. His kingdom is the Church, the assembly of all those who willingly follow His teaching and observe His laws. The Church is in the world, but not of it. She came down from Heaven, and Earth is but the place of Her pilgrimage and of Her trials. She will return to Heaven, and there the glorious and everlasting kingdom of Jesus and His disciples shall last for ever. This was the kingdom He meant when He said to Pilate “My kingdom is not of this world”; and again, when He says to His disciples “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.”
APPLICATION. How great is our happiness in being made, by holy Baptism, children of the Church and subjects of Jesus Christ, and, by professing the Christian Faith, to be among the number of the elect! If we choose, the kingdom of Heaven is ours. What assurance of this do we need? That we should be full of the spirit of our Holy Mother the Church; and though in the world, we be not of the world; that our life should be more celestial than terrestrial; that we should live in spirit in Heaven, as the Apostle says “Our conversation is in Heaven.”
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. “Pilate therefore said to Him: Art Thou a king, then? Jesus answered: Thou sayest that I am a king. For this was I born, and for this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth My voice.”
CONSIDERATION. Pilate’s conduct gives us a striking example of human instability. He was really desirous to know the truth concerning the wonderful Being whom the world thought of in such different ways, and who was now before him; and this desire increased after he had heard Him say “For this came I into the world; that I should give testimony to the truth.” Naturally he asked “What is truth?” and apparently he eagerly awaited the reply. Yet, when it was given, it had no effect on him; he took no further heed, and went out quickly from the judgement hall.
APPLICATION. We fully condemn the weakness and vacillation of Pilate; but let us examine if there be not some similarity with him in our conduct. Before beginning some of our actions, or deciding in difficult circumstances, we are accustomed to invoke the Holy Ghost: “Come, Holy Ghost,” thus entreating to know His will; but do we not often decide hastily without recollecting ourselves sufficiently to hear His reply? And do we not often hear the voice of God in our souls, and pay no attention to it? Do we not thus imitate the vacillation of the Roman judge?
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. “He went out again to the Jews, and saith to them: I find no cause in Him.”
CONSIDERATION. Pilate, a wise and experienced man, at the first sight of the case felt sure the crimes alleged could not be proved. However, in his position as judge, he questioned the accused upon the nature of the kingdom that He claimed. The answers of Jesus showed him clearly that His kingdom was not in opposition to the rulers of this world; and he therefore pronounced Him to be innocent, saying “I find no cause in Him.”
APPLICATION. Pilate, though vacillating, was just, and a lover of truth. If he had been as firm as he was just, he would never have condemned Jesus to death. But he feared to get into trouble, and he grew weak and timid. The Jews craftily worked upon his fears, and extorted the unjust sentence from him. This is the devil’s way with us: he studies our weak points, and takes advantage of them; and if we are off our guard, he entraps us with subtle snares.
COLLOQUY with Jesus our Master.