FOURTH WEEK OF LENT: WEDNESDAY
Pilate shows Jesus to the People, saying “Behold the Man”.
1st Prelude. Behold our Lord Jesus covered with blood and wounds, crowned with thorns, wearing a purple mantle, and with a reed in His hand, exposed to the gaze of the multitude.
2nd Prelude. Ask for grace to give more love and glory to Jesus, because He was thus mocked and reviled.
POINT I. “Jesus, therefore, came forth bearing the crown of thorns and the purple garment; and he said to them: Behold the Man.”
CONSIDERATION. Even the heart of the Roman governor was touched when he beheld our Lord covered with blood and wounds, and insulted as a mock king. He thought that the Jews would equally be moved at the sight, and would demand the liberation of Him whose death they had been clamouring for. With this intention he brought Him forth to the front of the judgement hall and, presenting Him to the people, said “Behold the Man.”
APPLICATION. Holy Church addresses these words to every faithful soul, that they may have a tender compassion for the sufferings and humiliations of our Divine Lord. And God the Father also addresses them to us, that our hearts may be inflamed by love for His Divine Son, so shamefully treated for love of us; and ought we not to be moved even to tears when we know it was our sins which brought all this upon Him?
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT II. “When the chief priests and the servants had seen Him, they cried out, saying: Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
CONSIDERATION. When Pilate exposed Jesus to the gaze of the multitude, he thought it would be unnecessary to plead for Him in many words. He only said “Behold the Man”; and he imagined there would be a universal cry for pardon and mercy. And doubtless this would have been the case, if he had not been dealing with a people excited by the implacable hatred of the priests and doctors. The pride and self-love of these men had been wounded, and they had sworn to have the life of Jesus, not afraid, by shedding innocent blood and the blood of God, to draw down on themselves and their people fearful punishment. Pilate, to his astonishment, had no other answer than an outcry of rage “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”
APPLICATION. Here is an example to what lengths our passions, and especially wounded pride, will go. It blinded these clear-headed men to their own interests; it stifled all sense of justice and the fear of God in their breasts. And in the same way the religious who is determined not to submit to his superiors is indifferent to the loss of his vocation, the violation of his vows, and the detriment to his reputation. If he is told that those who have respected him as a religious will despise him when he is a worldling, he is unmoved. Remind him of the most touching or the most terrifying truths of religion, show him Jesus Christ humble and obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, it is all in vain. Passion never stops to reason; its victims are obstinately blind, and fall over the precipice. God grant that there may not be any examples in our own days to verify the truth of what we have been considering!
AFFECTIONS and RESOLUTIONS.
POINT III. “Pilate saith to them: Take Him you, and crucify Him. The Jews answered him: We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.”
CONSIDERATION. The real crime of Jesus in the eyes of the priests and doctors was that He had seen through their hypocrisy, and thrown them into the shade by the superiority of His teaching, the sanctity of His life, and the renown of His miracles. But they took good care not to bring this motive forward, for they were not willing to expose the base passion of envy which possessed them.
APPLICATION. Such are the workings of our passions. We do not see the true motives of our actions, and we fasten upon the imaginary faults of others. A religious or a priest rebelling against obedience will tell you that the fault is all on the side of his superiors — that they are prejudiced, ignorant and unjust, and that for his own honour’s sake, and even in his zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls, he is obliged to act as he does. In reality, wounded self-love is the foundation of it all. May God preserve us from becoming the victims of this passion!
COLLOQUY with our Blessed Lord.