Following Christ

The Crucifixion, Mosaic in the Monastery of Hosias Lukas.

5th Week of Easter, Saturday

John 15:18-21

“If the world hates you, realize that it hated me first.”

From the moment of Christ’s birth, he was already in danger of death as news of an infant king reached the ears of King Herod. St. John the Baptist, by association with him, was killed as his forerunner. During Christ’s public ministry, the religious authorities looked for every opportunity to trip him up and arrest him. Why?

Jesus was a threat to the establishment. He preached a kingdom “not of this world,” forgave sinners, healed on the Sabbath, fed the multitudes, and rebuked hypocrites. His greatest crime was blasphemy: his claim to be the Christ, the Son of God. By calling God his “Father,” he, a mere man, was claiming equality with God.

A strange crime, even in the mind of Pontius Pilate who sought to placate the mob. In the end, out of weakness he had Jesus crucified with a sign that read, “This is Jesus the King of the Jews.”

Jesus is rejected “because they do not know the one who sent me.” From the Cross, Jesus asked pardon for the ignorant: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” A centurion and a few companions were converted that very afternoon. 

Jesus has given us his example on Calvary to bear under persecution, misunderstanding, and lovelessness with the love of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit dwelling in our hearts.

-GMC

3 Replies to “Following Christ”

  1. Fr. Victor used this poem several years ago, perhaps on Holy Thursday — I can’t remember,
    but I do remember how it touched me when I read it then, and touches me still today, when I read it: the poignant regret of a man who could have acted differently.

                 Pilate Remembers
    

    I wonder why that scene comes back tonight,
    that long-forgotten scene of years ago.
    Perhaps this touch of spring, that full white moon,
    for it was spring, and spring’s white moon hung low
    above my garden on the night He died.
    I still remember how I felt disturbed
    that I must send Him to a felon’s cross
    on such a day when spring was in the air,
    and in His life, for He was young to die.
    how tall and strong He stood, how calm His eyes,
    fronting me straight and while I questioned Him;
    his fearless heart spoke to me through His eyes.
    Could I have won Him as my follower,
    and a hundred more beside, my way had led
    to Caesar’s palace and I’d wear today
    the imperial purple. But He would not move
    one little bit from His wild madcap dream
    of seeking truth. What wants a man with “truth”
    when he is young and spring is at the door?
    He would not listen, so He had to go.
    One mad Jew less meant little to the state,
    and pleasing Annas made my task the less.
    And yet for me He spoiled that silver night,-
    Remembering it was spring and he was young.

    William E. BROOKS, in: Chapter into Verse, Oxford University Press, 2000

  2. Fr. Victor posted this poem several years ago, perhaps on a Holy Thursday. I can’t remember, but I do remember how it touched me, and does every time I read it — the
    poignant regret of a powerful man who could have acted differently.

    Pilate Remembers

    I wonder why that scene comes back tonight,
    That long-forgotten scene of years ago.
    Perhaps this touch of spring, that full white moon,
    For it was spring, and spring’s white moon hung low
    Above my garden on the night He died.
    I still remember how I felt disturbed
    That I must send Him to a felon’s cross
    On such a day when spring was in the air,
    And in His life, for He was young to die.
    How tall and strong He stood, how calm His eyes,
    Fronting me straight and while I questioned Him;
    His fearless heart spoke to me through His eyes.
    Could I have won Him as my follower,
    And a hundred more beside, my way had led
    To Caesar’s palace and I’d wear today
    The imperial purple. But He would not move
    One little bit from His wild madcap dream
    Of seeking truth. What wants a man with “truth”
    When he is young and spring is at the door?
    He would not listen, so He had to go.
    One mad Jew less meant little to the state,
    And pleasing Annas made my task the less.
    And yet for me He spoiled that silver night,-
    Remembering it was spring and he was young.
    William E. BROOKS, in: Chapter into Verse, Oxford University Press, 2000

  3. Thanks for remembering that poem, Gloria. You are right. Pilate has to have second thoughts.

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