V. We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you;

R. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world.

From Matthew chapter 26 vs 66:

“What is your judgement?” They answered, “He deserves death.”.

Jesus stands in the most human of places.  He has already experienced profound solidarity with so many on this earth, by being beaten and tortured.  Now he is wrongfully condemned to punishment by death.  His commitment to entering our lives completely begins its final steps.  He has said "yes" to God and placed his life in God's hands.  We follow him in this final surrender, and contemplate with reverence each place along the way, as he is broken and given for us.

Fingers pointed in accusation

Jesus Sentenced to Death

13 And Pilate, calling together the chief priests, and the magistrates, and the people,

14 Said to them: You have presented unto me this man, as one that perverteth the people; and behold I, having examined him before you, find no cause in this man, in those things wherein you accuse him.

15 No, nor Herod neither. For I sent you to him, and behold, nothing worthy of death is done to him.

16 I will chastise him therefore, and release him.

17 Now of necessity he was to release unto them one upon the feast day.

18 But the whole multitude together cried out, saying: Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas:

19 Who, for a certain sedition made in the city, and for a murder, was cast into prison.

20 And Pilate again spoke to them, desiring to release Jesus.

21 But they cried again, saying: Crucify him, crucify him.

22 And he said to them the third time: Why, what evil hath this man done? I find no cause of death in him. I will chastise him therefore, and let him go.

23 But they were instant with loud voices, requiring that he might be crucified; and their voices prevailed.

24 And Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.

25 And he released unto them him who for murder and sedition, had been cast into prison, whom they had desired; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.

Meditation: 

Pilate, timid and afraid of the truth, fingers pointed in accusation, and the growing clamour of the raging crowd: these are the first stages in Jesus’ death. Innocent, like a lamb, whose blood saves his people. Jesus, who walked among us bringing healing and blessing, is now sentenced to capital punishment. Not a word of gratitude from the crowd, which instead chooses Barabbas. For Pilate, the case is an embarrassment. He hands it over to the crowd and washes his hands of it, concerned only for his own power. He delivers Jesus to be crucified. He wants to know nothing more of him. For Pilate, the case is closed.

Jesus’ hasty condemnation thus embraces the easy accusations, the superficial judgements of the crowd, the insinuations and the prejudices which harden hearts and create a culture of racism and exclusion, a throw-away culture of anonymous letters and vicious slanders. Once we are accused, our name is immediately splayed across the front page; once acquitted, it ends up on the last!

And what about us? Will we have a clear, upright and responsible conscience, one which never forsakes the innocent but courageously takes the side of the weak, resisting injustice and defending truth whenever it is violated?

 

From Pilate, the man with power, Jesus ought to have obtained justice. Pilate did indeed have the power to recognize Jesus’ innocence and free him. But the Roman Governor preferred to serve the logic of his personal interests and he yielded to political and social pressures. He condemned an innocent man in order to please the crowd, without satisfying truth. He handed Jesus over to the torment of the Cross, knowing that he was innocent ... and then he washed his hands.

In today’s world, there are many "Pilates" who keep their hands on the levers of power and make use of them in order to serve the strongest. There are many who are weak and cowardly before the spectre of power, and mortgage their authority to the service of injustice, trampling upon man’s dignity and his right to life.

Prayer: 

Lord Jesus, 
do not allow us 
to be among those who act unjustly. 

Do not allow the strong 
to take pleasure in evil, 
injustice and tyranny. 

Do not allow injustice 
to condemn the innocent 
to despair and death. 

Confirm them in hope 
and illumine the consciences 
of those with authority in this world, 
that they may govern with justice. 

Amen.

 
As I view the scene, I become moved by both outrage and gratitude.

I look at Jesus.  His face.  The crown of thorns.  The blood.  His clothes stuck to the wounds on his back. 

Pilate washes his hands of the whole affair.  Jesus' hands are tied behind his back.

This is for me.  That I might be free.  That I might have eternal life. 

As the journey begins I ask to be with Jesus.  To follow his journey. I express my love and thanks. 

Jesus, though He was innocent, was falsely accused and unjustly judged. Yet, He trusted in His heavenly Father to rescue Him from the designs of the wicked. Let us imitate Jesus’ faith in God.

Dear Lord, many times in families, parents are misunderstood by children and children are misunderstood by parents. Husbands and wives misjudge each other; siblings falsely accuse each other. When we are falsely accused, dear Lord, give us the strength to bear the injustice with patience as our way of following You, on the way to the cross. We love you, Jesus.

Lord, have mercy on us, for none of us are innocent. In this mirror allow me to see where I have denied you, where I have refused to take responsibility, feared involvement in the suffering of others, turned away at the cost of the innocent. Lord, grant me the grace, the courage, to face suffering, to stand as a reed against towering Cedars that would crush the blameless, to contend with evil knowing that my failure to find my outrage is my complicity in it. Too, teach me humility, my God, in knowing that were I there, I would have denied You, fled you, too ... because I deny you, flee you, each time I choose sin over you. May this be so no more.  

Judgment is no more mine than it was Pilate's. Lord, open my heart to pray for all those condemned to die.

Am I not numbered among them?

1 Our Father 

1 Hail Mary 

1 Glory Be ...

O Jesus Crucified - for us you suffered - for us you died - On the Cross

Daily Meditation by(c) 2013 Don Schwager
Bible Story illustrations by publishing.com 

and

Visual Bible Alive

Powered byEMF Form Builder