THIRD WEEK OF LENT: SATURDAY
Pilate tries to save Jesus from the Fury of the Jews
1st Prelude. Imagine you see Pilate pleading with the crowd on behalf of Jesus.
2nd Prelude. Beg the grace to persevere till the end in our holy vocation.
POINT I. “Pilate saith to them: What shall I do, then, with Jesus, that is called Christ? They say all: Let Him be crucified.”
CONSIDERATION. The efforts that Pilate made to rescue Jesus from His enemies only incensed them the more against Him, because they thought He would escape from them. Of the three classes who were concerned in bringing about His death, Pilate, the people, and the priests, the priests had the greater guilt. Yielding to a base jealousy, they invented and sustained the accusations, they excited and seduced the people, they overpowered the judge by the cries of rage and fury which they put into the mouth of the crowd: their sin was very terrible; for the sanctity of their office, and the greater light and grace they had received, ought to have made them models to their people instead of a scandal.
APPLICATION. Here is another melancholy proof of the truth of the old saying, Optimi pessima corruptio — The best when corrupted become the worst; and this we unhappily see too often in our own days, when priests or religious become infidels or apostates; they seem as if they wanted to deaden their own consciences, or entirely to efface the seal of their sacerdotal consecration or religious profession.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. “The governor said to them: Why, what evil hath He done?”
CONSIDERATION. This question ought to have opened the eyes of the Jewish people. It reminded them of the public life of Jesus, every step of which had brought down blessings on them. Even among this very multitude there might have been found many whom He had miraculously cured — to whom He had given sight, hearing, or the use of their limbs — and a still greater number whom He had delivered from the possession or temptations of the devil.
APPLICATION. During the whole of our lives, and especially since we entered religion, we can remember nothing but wonderful graces and blessings; they constantly flash across our minds, and the memory of them ought to increase our love and devotion to Jesus, our Divine Lord. How is it, then, that we correspond so little with these graces, that we are so lukewarm in His service? Let us search into the causes of this, fight against it, and overcome it if possible.
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. “And he said to them the third time: I find no cause of death in Him. I will chastise Him, therefore, and let Him go.”
CONSIDERATION. Pilate was guilty of the grossest injustice. Three times he had declared that the prisoner brought before him was innocent, and yet he condemned Him to a cruel and shameful punishment. His aim was to save Him at least from death, by exciting compassion for His sufferings, under the punishment to which He was sentenced. He did not see that he was actually clearing the way for the death by crucifixion, which the Jews were aiming at, for it was often the custom to precede crucifixion by scourging.
APPLICATION. How often have our passions made us act like fools! Have we not, from pride or sensuality, tried to escape the humiliations and mortifications which we ought to seek after, especially in religious life? Or have we not sought for pleasures and distinctions which we knew would do us harm? Are we, then, on our guard against our passions, and do we fight manfully against them?
COLLOQUY with our Divine Master.