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Showing posts from June 20, 2021

Jesus Is Buried (John 19:38-42)

 After the sad and unjust death of Jesus, his close friends and disciples needed to find a place to bury him. I think they buried him in a tomb close at hand so that they could still eat the Passover, without being ritually unclean. Joseph of Arimathea was the one to pay for the tomb. Nicodemus, who came to Jesus at night, (John 3) also helped with the burial preparation. It was a fresh tomb, that no one else had ever laid in. And no one ever would again.

Jesus' Side Is Pierced (John 19:31-37)

 It would have been undignified at the very least, to leave the bodies of condemned men hanging on the crosses for the Passover. The Romans consented to breaking the legs of the prisoners, so the men would die if they were still alive. (The only way to keep breathing for at least a time while you are being crucified is to push up on your feet.) The soldiers discovered that Jesus was already dead. Who knows what caused the soldier to stab Jesus in the side with a spear? He did, though, and blood and water came out. St. John says he saw it. This is his way of letting us know that he saw this personally, without drawing attention to himself. He never mentions himself by name anywhere in the Gospel. The quotation referring to broken bones is from Psalm 34, a Psalm of David. It speaks again of the Lord answering the call of those who cry to him. There were also NIV cross-references to the law of Moses relating to the Passover, in the books of Exodus and Numbers. This is St. John's way o

A Note On Catholic Voting (Again)

 A Catholic is only culpable for the grave evils of Catholic politicians, if and only if they vote with the intention of supporting those grave evils. Anyone who says otherwise is wrong, and anyone who persists in saying it is a partisan hack. I don’t care how many Catholic books they write.

The Crucifixion Of Jesus (John 19:17-30)

 They took Jesus out to the place of the skull, which suggests that many people died there. Perhaps it was a common place of execution. They made him carry his own Cross. Three men were executed, with Jesus in the middle. Pontius Pilate made a sign--in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek--which said, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." The Pharisees and other leaders objected, and they wanted Pilate to write that Jesus claimed to be the King of the Jews. He left the sign the same, probably as a little act of rebellion against the leaders with whom he was tired of arguing. It's a shame he didn't have enough courage to set Jesus free, but in doing what he did, he unintentionally told the deepest truth. Whether he was mocking or not, Jesus is the King, not only in Israel, but over the entire universe. The soldiers who crucified Jesus took his clothes, but they didn't want to tear his tunic, so they cast lots for it, which is a bit like rolling dice. The quotation there c

Pilate: Justice Versus Career (John 19:12-16)

 Pontius Pilate tried to reason with the hostile crowd, but they knew that his political position was dicey. Many scholars seem to think that Pilate would have been removed as governor, and possibly jailed and tortured, if there were another rebellion on his watch. The crowd uses his own motive for self-preservation against him, and he caves. It's possible that in the second part of this section, Pilate believes that he won't be reasoning with the crowd, so when he says, "Here is your King!" he may be trying to antagonize them. "We have no king but Caesar" is somewhat predictable for the chief priests to say, because that particular group was not known for their religious devotion. In fact, they were despised by many Pharisees, because of their willingness to compromise with foreign powers, and to make a lot of money doing so. What makes Pilate so bad is that he was the one with all the power, and he behaved as though he couldn't do anything other than w

The Scourging Of Jesus (John 19:1-11)

 When we start to look closely at the ways of God, we notice that people often think they are shaming God, or making Him small somehow, with their words and actions against Him, when in reality they are glorifying God without realizing it. So it was with the soldiers mocking Jesus: putting the crown of thorns on his head, and dressing him in a royal robe. You can say, "Hail, King of the Jews!" as mockingly as you want, but if Jesus really is the King, the truth is the truth. One of the reasons that the Church puts the words, "Crucify him, crucify him!" on our lips on Palm Sunday is that we don't want to begin to think that we are so much better than these officials. Every time we sin, we are like these leaders, who traded the innocent Jesus for a robber and a murderer. Pilate finally got an answer to his question about what supposedly Jesus had done wrong: they were charging him with blasphemy, because he made himself equal with God. I think this is what made Pi

"What Is Truth?" And Pleading On Behalf Of Jesus (John 18:38-40)

 Whether Pilate didn't believe truth could be found, or he was worried about practical matters as the governor, the certainty of Jesus made him uncomfortable. He could have made a better choice. We don't know how his story ends, but to be mentioned by name in the two ancient creeds--Apostles' and Nicene--is not good. St. Matthew records that his wife warned him to stay away from the case of Jesus. She had a dream about Jesus, and she received insight that he was a righteous man (see Matthew 27:19). Even so, Pilate knew that what was taking place was an injustice. He tried to use a custom he had of pardoning someone around the time of the Passover to get Jesus off the hook. It didn't work. Sometimes, when we have the power to do something, and we don't do it as we should, it is easier to imagine that our hands are tied, rather than take responsibility for the choices we have made. Nobody in this situation has more power than Pontius Pilate, at least from an earthly p