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Jesus is condemned to death

Jesus is silent; he guards the truth within himself

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 John   18:37-40

Pilate said to Jesus, “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. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?” After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, “I find no crime in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

* * *

Pilate finds in Jesus no cause for condemnation, yet he does not find within himself the strength to oppose the sentence.
His inner hearing is deaf to the word of Jesus; he fails to understand Jesus’ testimony to the truth.
“To hear the truth is to obey it and believe in it”.[1] It is to live freely under its aegis and to entrust one’s heart to it.
Pilate is not free: he is conditioned from without, yet the truth he has heard continues to echo within, knocking at his heart and troubling him.
So he goes out to the Jews; “he went out again”, the text emphasizes, in an attempt, as it were, to flee from himself. And the voice coming to him from without prevails over the word within.
Here is where the condemnation of Jesus, the condemnation of the truth, is decided.

Jesus most humble,
we too let ourselves be conditioned from without.
We no longer know how to hear the quiet,
exacting and liberating voice of our own conscience
which lovingly invites us, appealing from within:
“Do not go out, return to yourself:
it is in the inner man that the truth dwells”.[2]

Come, Spirit of Truth,
help us to encounter in the “inner man,
hidden deep within our hearts”[3]
the Holy Face of the Son
who renews us in the Divine Likeness!



Pater noster, qui es in caelis:
sanctificetur nomen tuum;
adveniat regnum tuum;
fiat voluntas tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra.
Panem nostrum cotidianum da nobis hodie;
et dimitte nobis debita nostra,
sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
sed libera nos a malo.


Stabat Mater dolorosa
iuxta crucem lacrimosa
dum pendebat Filius.

[1] Cf. Commentary on the Gospel of John, 115, 4.
[2] On True Religion, 39, 72.
[3] Cf. Jerusalem Bible (Italian), note on 1 Pet 3:4.


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