Saturday, March 16, 2013

They Crucified Him: Station I

This series is not my own work, but all taken from Rev Robert Nash, S.J.'s reflections on the Stations of the Cross: They Crucified Him. I will post one Station a day in these final days before (and concluding on) Good Friday. Here is the First Station.
***   ***   ***


We find ourselves at the outset, in a quiet corner of Pilate’s hall, looking on the Prisoner Who is standing before His judge.

In the street below a brutal mob is howling, and the cry, quivering from excess of hatred, sends up its echo:

“Away with Him! He is guilty of death! Crucify Him!”

Presently the Governor arises from his seat, dips his hands in a basin of water and holds them dripping over the edge of the balcony. “No,” he declares, “this Man is not guilty of death. He is innocent and I wash my hands to show you that I am not taking responsibility for His condemnation.

“But, though He is innocent, I sentence Him to be crucified.”

We might draw many a helpful consideration from this first station, but it will probably be most useful to concentrate on one at a time. So as we watch Pilate and the infuriated Jews we see very clearly indeed how foolish is that man who allows himself to be swayed unduly by desire for his fellowman’s praise and approval. For Pilate’s inconsistency is equalled only by his cruelty. In one breath, he affirms Christ’s innocence, and in the next, he condemns Him! And as for the multitudes, it is barely five days since they gathered around Jesus on the occasion of His triumphant journey into Jerusalem, once more shouting themselves hoarse, but in jubilation this time as they acclaim this same Man their King. Look at them now and see how swiftly the popularist aura has changed. These are the people whose sick He has cured, whose dead He has raised to life again. These are the same who followed Him into desert places and whom He fed by working a miracle. They had brought their children to Him to bless. Is it too much to suppose that to-day they lift up those same little ones high in their arms and teach them to yell curses at Him as at a hypocrite and a criminal?

Whatever be their charge and even if it were a just one, the Truth cannot but force itself upon us that he who leans much on mere human friendship and permits his conduct to be guided by the fickle opinions of men is building upon shifting sands. Of course, there is nothing more removed from our minds than censure of the beautiful and lasting friendships which abound. But unless friendship and affection be the overflow of the love of Christ in the soul, it will soon degenerate into mere expediency. A friend of this sort smiles upon you and is lavish with attentions as long as he has anything to gain from you, or thinks he has. But seek him out when sorrow presses upon you and he is ‘not at home’, or he is plainly bored and uninterested, and when next you meet him in the street, he looks the other way or crosses to the other side. Jesus, enduring this fickleness of men, would have me learn that there is one abiding friendship and only one, which stands unshaken in the midst of men’s insincerity - the friendship existing between God and the soul, and the friendship which loves others for His sake.

There is another form of subservience to men’s opinions and it is called human respect. Men will drink freely and use loose language or intersperse their conversation with foul oaths — and why? They will be ashamed to silence indecent talk, they will smile or laugh at a tale that nauseates — and why? They will fawn on those who have power, and compromise their consciences to win their approval. They will make careful study of the art of timeserving — why? Look back ten or fifteen years and see how utterly unimportant it is now what men thought of you or said about you then, when you were ridiculed or laughed at, or on the other hand, when you were lauded to the skies. Whether they praise or blame, whether they regard you as a wise man or a fool, you are what God sees you to be. Just that, and no more or no less. What fools we are to be so easily swayed, and to lose opportunities of growing in God’s love or combating His enemies because we fear what others will think or say about us! “To me,” writes Saint Paul, “it is a very small thing to be judged by you. . . . He that judges me is the Lord.”

Jesus in this first station teaches me to ignore, as being unworthy of a moment’s consideration, what men will think of me, and to seek to win for my words and actions the approval of Him Whose judgment of me, because unerring, is the only one worth having.


Post a Comment