I

JESUS IS CONDEMNED TO DEATH

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

 
  It is after ten in the morning. The trial is moving to its close. There has been no conclusive evidence. The judge knows that his enemies have handed Jesus over to him out of envy, and he tries an absurd move: a choice between Barabbas, a criminal accused of robbery and murder, and Jesus, who says he is Christ. The people choose Barabbas, and Pilate exclaims: What am I to do, then, with Jesus? (Mt 27:22). They all reply: Crucify him! The judge insists: Why, what evil has he done? Once again they respond, shouting: Crucify him! Pilate is frightened by the growing uproar. So he sends for water and washed his hands in the sight of the people, saying as he does so: I am innocent of the blood of this just man; it is your affair (Mt 27;24). And having had Jesus scourged, he hands him over to them to be crucified. Their frenzied and possessed throats fall silent, as if God had already been vanquished.

   Jesus is all alone. Far off now are the days when the works of the Man-God brought light and hope to men's hearts, those long processions of sick people whom he healed, the triumphant acclaim of Jerusalem when the Lord arrived, riding on a gentle donkey. If only men had wanted to give a different outlet for God's love! If only you and I had recognized the day of the Lord!
 

Meditating on the picture, say: one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory be.

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