"Pilate....brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. So they took Jesus and led Him away" - John 19: 13 - 16
Condemnation to death! How stark and frightening the scene must have been in the Roman Pratorium in contrast to the crowds that greeted Jesus on his entry to Jerusalem only a few days before. Bleeding, wounded from the scourging at the pillar, abandoned and alone before a hostile crowd, in pain and tiredness can anyone know how he must have felt?
But we often look to stand in the shoes of Jesus, casting ourselves as the wrongly accussed and offended party, but look around that courtyard, where are you really standing? Which one of the crowd are You?
How quick I am to judge others? Do I pass comments and snide remarks based on faulty stereotypes and hearsay? Have I ever joined "the mob" in condemning a person? Maybe not to death; but have I joined in killing them socially by casting aspiration at them? Killed their soul by ignoring and ostracising them even if is by acts of omission rather than directly doing something to others?
We often jump to the defence of those seen as being innocent even after condemnation by "lawful authorities" - Mandela, Ken Sara-wiwa, Aung San Su Kyi. But look to those wrongly accused - Fr Kevin Reynolds, Sr Nora Wall. Do we tend to take the view "there is no smoke without fire?"
Or have we been Pilate's to the world? It is not my affair, it is nothing to do with me. Have I washed my hands of my brothers and sisters in need - let someone else look after that, that is their job after all? It is very easy to condemn Pilate with the hindsight of the Resurrection, but if we stood in his shoes would we have done any different? When we condemn those that have gone before us for actions or lack of actions taken, have we ever stopped to consider what will the generations to come think of our 'Pilate moments' - Rwanda, Cambodia, Bosnia, Magdalene Laundries, Industrial schools......."Let those without sin cast the first stone"
What am I?
Preserve me from the tomb of surface sight,
(Nous adorons ta croix, Seigneur. Nous louons ta resurrection. / We adore your cross, Lord. We praise your resurrection. / Dein Kreuz, Herr, verehren wir. Deine Auferstehung preisen wir.)
Music: Jacques Berthier