Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thursday of the Third Week in Lent

Jesus Is Accused Before Pilate.


Of what do you complain? You are innocent, and have been calumniated. Was not the Son of God calumniated? He was accused of being a seditious man, but he only preached doctrines of peace and love to his enemies! He was accused of inciting the people to resist paying tribute, but he paid it to Pilate and Csesar, and he taught obedience to the laws in all his counsels! He was accused of assuming the qualities of a king, but he fled from the people when they wished to crown him! Pilate declared him innocent! Why, then, was he crucified? Because he was Jesus! Because he was the Savior of his people and had assumed the burden and penalty of our guilt! This is the cause of his death.

Jesus is innocent, and appeared guilty; I am guilty, and wish to appear innocent! Jesus never sinned, and bore the pain of our sins; but I, who am a sinner, wish to avoid bearing the pain of mine! I am ashamed to appear criminal before men, but fear not to appear so before God. I do much that is worthy of condemnation, yet cannot endure the slightest blame. What injustice and arrogance to be wicked and aspire to those honors which are only due to virtue! If you are guilty why do you complain? If you are innocent why do you grieve? Do you not consider it a great honor to be treated as the Son of God was?


If you are a good man, you cannot avoid the condemnation of the world. They will present you bound, as they did Jesus, before the tribunal of their injustice. They will institute proceedings against you and declare that you are unworthy to live among honest men. What will you do? Compare the judgments of men with those of Christ; the tribunal of Pilate with that of Jesus. He is the truth, whom this wicked ruler and judge did not wish to know. If the truth deliver you, you shall be free indeed. Be satisfied with the testimony of your own conscience with God. It is better to be betrayed by the wicked than loved by them, to be despised by the world than honored by it. Do you desire to please those who are displeasing to God?


My soul, draw near to this tribunal of iniquity. Behold a God judged by a man! A God standing before a man who remains seated! A God, who is judge of the living and the dead, examined and condemned by the most wicked of his creatures! What has he done, this innocent Lamb, that he is bound, and dragged through the city? He has created the heavens and the earth. He has made the lame to walk, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, the dead to live, and has gone about doing good to all men; delivering those who were possessed of devils, and making heaven the reward of the good, and hell the punishment of the wicked. Oh Jesus, what hast thou done to be so maltreated by men? What hast thou done to me that I should dare offend and insult thee?

Resolution: I will show a special kindness today to someone who has wronged me in reparation for the times I have wronged Jesus who has done nothing but love me.

Prayer: O my Jesus, thou who art innocence itself, I repent of all my sins for love of thee. Never let me fall into sin again. Help me to grow in thy grace and become more like thee in innocence so that I may one day join the company of the saints in declaring thy praises. O Mary, obtain for me the grace of never sinning again.

By a Member of the Society of Jesus, edited and amended by J. Scott Bailey, C.Ss.R.

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