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Thursday, March 01, 2007

SOC 1: Jesus Condemned to Death

The First Station – Jesus is Condemned to Death

Pilate said to him: “So you are a king?” Jesus answered: “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said, in answer: “What is truth?” At this point the Roman Procurator saw no need for further questions. He went to the Jews and told them: “I find no crime in him.”

The tragedy of Pilate is hidden in the question: what is truth? This was no philosophical question about the nature of truth, but an existential question about his own relationship with truth. It was an attempt to escape from the voice of conscience, which was pressing him to acknowledge the truth and follow it. When someone refuses to be guided by truth, he is ultimately ready even to condemn an innocent person to death.

The accusers sense this weakness in Pilate and so do not yield. They relentlessly call for death by crucifixion...When [he] brings Jesus, scourged and crowned with thorns, before the crowd, he seems to be looking for words, which he thinks might soften the intransigence of the mob. [Maybe if they see Jesus as a man, they will relent in their obstinate insistence on crucifixion.]

Pointing to Jesus he says, Ecce homo! Behold the man! But the answer comes back, “Crucify him!”

[Pilate] is increasingly convinced that the accused is innocent, but this is not enough for him to decide in his favor.

Thus was Jesus, the Son of the living God, the Redeemer of the world, condemned to death by crucifixion. Over the centuries, the denial of truth has spawned suffering and death. It is the innocent who pay the price of human hypocrisy. Half measures are never enough. Nor is it enough to wash one's hands. Responsibility for the blood of the just remains. This is why Christ prayed so fervently for his disciples in every age: Father, “sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.”

From John Paul II's Way of the Cross

Lord Jesus Christ,
you accepted an unjust judgment.
Grant to us
and to all the men and women of our time
the grace to remain faithful to the truth.
Do not allow the weight of responsibility
for the sufferings of the innocent
to fall upon us and upon those who come after us
To you, O Jesus, just Judge,
be honor and glory forever and ever.



We adore thee, O Christ, and praise thee;
Because by thy holy cross thou hast redeemed the world;

Lord Jesus, crucified!
Have mercy on us!

For the sake of your sorrowful passion,
have mercy on us, and on the whole world.


Jesus is all alone. Far off now are the days when the words of the Man-God brought light and hope to men's hears, those long processions of sick people whom he healed, the triumphant acclaim of Jerusalem when the Lord arrived, riding on a gentle donkey...Lord, where are your friends? Your subjects, where are they? They have left you. This running away has been going on for twenty centuries...We, all of us, flee from the Cross, from your Holy Cross. Blood, anguish, loneliness, and an insatiable hunger for souls...these are the courtiers around your royal throne.

From The Way of the Cross, Josemaria Escriva


And they will ask him: what are those wounds that you bear in your hands? And he will reply: I received them in the house of those who love me. (Zach 13:6)


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