Pilate Washing his Hands

The 30 Meditation of the condemnation of Christ.
And Pilate seeing, that he profited nothing, but that the tumult was made grater,taking water,washed his hands before the people, saying: I am innocent the blood of this just man; Look yes to it.
Pilate who was a Heathen, being moved with the touch of conscience and reason, and desirous to dismiss Christ uncondemned; the Jew begin to mutiny. Consider therefore, first, how much that afflicted the mind of Christ, that a Heathen, being a stranger from the knowledge of God, and from the Sacraments, should be carful for his delivery; and they, upon whom God had bestowed the knowledge of himself, and honored them with many Sacraments, should so tumultuously labor to have the sentence of death pronounced against him. Learn, not to marvel, if some things happen unto thee, contrary to equity and reason.

Consider secondly, that the wicked do mutiny. For even as Hell is replenished with tumult and horror: so all things, which are suggested by the Devil, are referred to tumult and perturbation, either outwardly amongst the Citizens, or else inwardly in mens minds.

Consider thirdly the ceremony of Pilate, who washed his hands with water, but did not wash away the guilt of conscience, for sins are not purged with outward water, but with tears. Do thou apply this water of tears to thy sins already past; but do not use them, to the end thou mayest sin more freely. For as all sins committed may be cleansed by tears and penance: so there is nothing, which can give liberty to sin.

Consider fourthly the words of Pilate: (I am innocent) He thinketh himself innocent, because he condemned him against his will. But he cannot be innocent, which sendeth Jesus to the Cross. with the same lips, by which he had pronounced him innocent before. Thou earnest also, that they are like unto those Jews, which will never take any warnings, nor be moved with any reasons. And they imitate the sin of Pilate: First, which sin against their own conscience at the request of others. Secondly, which under any pretense excuse themselves, and lay the blame upon others, Thirdly, which cover the wickedness of their mind with any color of good. But see that thou doest use this word of Pilate more warily to thine own benefit: O lord, let me be innocent by the blood of this just man. For seeing he only is just, and our true Justice, nothing can bring me innocency of my soul, but by the blood of this just man, shed for justice, for the remission of sins.

Fr. Francois Coster S.J.


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