DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
Pilate Washing his Hands (detail) 

The 29. Meditation of the fourth accusation of Christ before Pilate.
From thence forth Pilate sought to dismiss him: but the Jews cried, saying: if thou dost dismiss him, thou art not friend to Caesar: for every one that maketh himself King, contradicted Caesar: but when Pilate heard these speeches, he brought Jesus fourth, and sat in the judgment seat, in the place called Lithostrotos, but in Hebrew Gabbata; and it was the parasite, about the sixth hour.
Consider first, that Pilate, when he heard mention of sin thought earnestly of the dismissing of Christ, for fear of committing a greater offense: that thou maist learn hereafter to abstain from sin for the love of Christ; for thou hast offended God long enough, and defiled thy conscience with the of sin: but be thou more constant then Pialte, upon whom God hath bestowed more grace.

Consider secondly, the burning hate of the Jews, who wanting matter of accusation, terrified the Judge with threatenings, and as it were enforced him to do wickedly: as if they should say: We will complain of thee to Caesar, whose enemy and competitor of the kingdom thou hast favored. Wicked men use to threaten, when they cannot prevail by truth. if thou fearest none but God, thou shalt overcome all thy enemies.

Consider thirdly, that Pilate hitherto played the man, so long as it concerned bot himself: but when he thought his own honor and reputation was called in question, he yielded to their threatenings, and was quite discouraged: like to those, who defend the truth, as long as they shall suffer no inconvenience thereby: but if they perceive any storm, they presently turn sail, and yield unto the tempest, and will not suffer any kind of trouble. Do thou fly the world, least it carry thee away from the affairs of Christ to some unjust action. For he which maketh himself a king and ruleth over himself, and over his desires, is not a friend to Caesar, the devil ( I mean) the prince of this world, whose friendship if thou seeks, and dost fear his wrath, thou shalt get that, which happened to Pilate, who by the complaint of the Jews in another cause, lost Caesars friendship, & died miserably in exile. The Devil followeth those that fear him; and flyeth and foresaketh them, that hate him.

Consider fourthly, that the place, day, and hour of the condemning of Christ is distinctly noted: first, to declare the greatness of the sin, when the only begotten Son of the true God was condemned to die on the Cross. Secondly, to signify the mystery which is contain in the same. It was the day of the Paraseeve, that is, the sixth day, in which man was created, in which man was to be redeemed, in which the true Lamb was to be immolated, and in which the typical Lamb was slain. ( About the sixth hour) that is, a little before noon, in which hour the typical Lamb was prepared to be sacrificed, and men do commonly pamper and cherish their bodies. The place which is strewn with stones: that is, high, because Christ was condemned by men more hard, and more proud then the very stones; and did receive this sentence of death for thy pride, and for the hardness and blindness of thy heart. Pray unto thy Lord to lighten thy blindness, to mollify thy hardness, and to suppress thy pride.

~ Fr. Francois Coster S.J.


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