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FRIEDRICH OVERBECK (1789-1869)
WATER-COLOUR ON BOARD - Vatican Museum

FIFTH STATION
Jesus is judged by Pilate
    

V/. We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you.
R/. Because by your holy cross you have redeemed the world

From the Gospel according to Luke 23:13-25

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them,
"You brought me this man as one who was perverting the people;
and after examining him before you,
behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him;
neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us.
Behold, nothing deserving death has been done by him;
I will therefore chastise him and release him."
But they all cried out together,
"Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas" --
a man who had been thrown into prison
for an insurrection started in the city, and for murder.
Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus;
but they shouted out, "Crucify, crucify him!"
A third time he said to them,
"Why, what evil has he done?
I have found in him no crime deserving death;
I will therefore chastise him and release him."
But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified.
And their voices prevailed.
So Pilate gave sentence that their demand should be granted.
He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, whom they asked for; but Jesus he delivered up to their will.

MEDITATION

A man without any guilt whatsoever stands before Pilate.
Rights and the law give way to the decisions of a totalitarian power
that seeks the consensus of the crowd.
In an unjust world, the just can only be rejected and condemned.
Hurray for murder, death to him who gives life.
Let Bar-Abba be freed, the criminal called "son of the Father",
let him who has revealed the Father and is true Son of the Father be crucified.
Other people, not Jesus, have done what is evil in the sight of God.
But power fears for its own authority,
it forsakes the authoritativeness that comes from doing what is right,
and it abdicates.
Pilate, the authority with the power of life and death,
Pilate, who did not hesitate to smother in blood the hotspots of rebellion (Lk 13:1),
Pilate, who governed with an iron fist
that obscure province of the Empire, dreaming of greater power,
abdicates,
he hands over an innocent man, and in so doing hands over his own authority, to a raucous crowd.
The one who in silence had abandoned himself to the will of the Father
is thus abandoned to the will of those who cry out loudest.

PRAYER

Jesus, innocent lamb brought to slaughter (Is 53:7)
in order to take away the sin of the world (Jn 1:29),
turn your tender gaze upon all the innocent who are persecuted,
to prisoners who groan in horrifying jails,
to victims of love for the oppressed and for justice,
to those who see no end to a long punishment that is unwarranted.
Your intimately perceived presence softens their bitterness
and dissipates the darkness of imprisonment.
Do not let us resign ourselves ever to see enchained
the freedom that you have given to every person,
created in your image and likeness.

Jesus,
humble king of a kingdom of justice and peace,
you are radiant dressed in your purple mantle,
your blood shed for love.

R/. To you be praise and glory for ever.

All:

Pater noster

Quis est

      

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