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Reflections on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ Part 2

by Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira

 Third Reflection

“And when morning was come, all the chief priests and ancients of the people took counsel against Jesus, that they might put Him to death.” (Matthew 27:1)

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The Jewish people yearned for the coming of the Messiah. However, when He did come, they persecuted Him. He performed miracles and the people applauded. But the priestly class, which was the highest political class, was afraid: “Who is this Man that has won the people’s enthusiastic favor? What will happen to our power? He is a danger to us!”

 

In a method often used today, the persecution began with calumnies and twisted questions designed to trap, questions contrived in the laboratory of insincerity.

 

The first and greatest of all revolutions broke out during Holy Week. A revolution is, by definition, a revolt of those who should love and obey but, instead, choose to rebel against legitimate authority. Our Lord possessed every possible degree of power and authority over the human race. The mission of the Jews was to acknowledge Him as the God-Man and submit to His sweet rule. They did the opposite. They neither acknowledged Him, nor admired or submitted to Him. And this disposition of soul was due to bad will and envy. They did not want His Law because they were corrupt and Our Lord taught austerity. They revolted and killed Him. The revolution of Holy Week was the greatest of revolutions because rebellion against such high authority cannot happen again.

 

May the thought of our scorned Redeemer fill us with adoration and compassion for Him, as well as indignation against the revolution that led to His crucifixion.


Fourth Reflection

“And they brought Him bound, and delivered Him to Pontius Pilate the governor.” (Matthew 27:2)


Pilate was a governor without a backbone. Although he knew the multitude would not resist the Roman soldiers, and therefore could count on an easy, brilliant victory, he absolutely did not want to use force to do what was right and just.


Instead, Pilate entered into dialogue with the mob and proposed, “Whom do you want me to release: Barabbas, or Jesus that is called Christ?” (Matthew 27:17)


Barabbas was a notorious head of a seditious band of rogues. He was the worst possible criminal, filled with dishonor and evil. Jesus was the utmost symbol of dignity and represented the best in the Jewish people. He was a descendent of David, the most eminent figure of the Old Testament. He had done only good to everyone.

 

Centrist that he was, Pilate thought that the Jews would never prefer Barabbas to Jesus. He did not understand that when men do not follow Jesus, they necessarily choose Barabbas. Pontius Pilate only condemned Him because of the political maneuvering of the priests. They told him, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend.” (John 19:12) It would have been easy for Pilate to defend himself against this accusation. However, faced with the possibility of losing his office as governor of Judea, Pilate cowardly had Jesus killed.

 

As a result of his vile ambition, Pontius Pilate committed the greatest injustice of history.

 


 

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Go to:  Part III

 

Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 21, 2021

All the strength of Satan’s reign is due to the easy-going...

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January 21

 

All the strength of Satan’s reign
is due to
the easy-going weakness of Catholics.


Pope St. Pius X


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Agnes

Even pagans were moved to tears at the sight of the radiant...

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St. Agnes

Agnes was born around 291 in a Christian, patrician family of Rome, and suffered martyrdom in the terrible persecution of Diocletian.

As a young maiden, she pledged herself to Christ and defended her virginity to the death.

Exceptionally beautiful, she turned down numerous suitors, but when she refused Procop, the Prefect’s own son, things became very complicated. Procop tried to win Agnes with gifts and promises but she answered: “I’m already promised to the Lord of the Universe. He is more splendid than the sun and the stars, and He has said He will never leave me!”

Angered, Procop  took  the maiden before his father, and accused her of being a Christian. The Prefect tried to turn her from her Faith first by cajolements, and then by placing her in chains, but she only rejoiced.

The pagan official, set on overcoming Agnes by any means, next had her taken to a house of prostitution but she was visibly protected by an angel.

Finally, Agnes was condemned to death, but she was happy as a bride about to meet her bridegroom. Even pagan bystanders were moved to tears at the sight of the radiant maiden going to her death, and begged her to relent, to which she retorted: “If I were to try to please you, I would offend my Spouse. He chose me first and He shall have me!” Then praying, she offered her neck for the death stroke.

St. Agnes is one of seven women besides the Blessed Virgin to be mentioned in the Canon of the Mass. She is the patron of chastity, young girls, engaged couples, rape victims and virgins. She is depicted holding a lamb as her name in Latin means “lamb”, “agnus”. But the name “Agnes” is actually taken from the Greek “hagne” meaning chaste, pure, sacred.

Agnes’ relics repose beneath the high altar of the Church of Sant’Agnese Fuori le mura, built upon the place she was originally buried. This church was built in her honor by the daughter of the Emperor Constantine, and is one of the oldest in Rome.  St. Agnes’ skull is in the Church of Sant’Agnese in Agone at Piazza Navona.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him h...

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Mary and the Muslim

Don Octavio del Monaco was a wealthy citizen of 17th century Naples. Like many of his class, Don Octavius had several Muslim slaves in his household. These children of Islam were amazed at the kindness of their “master.” He fed and clothed them better than they received in their native land. In return, his slaves attended to their tasks with diligence, as Don Octavius did not over work them, but assigned them duties in keeping with their dignity as children of God.

If these Muslim slaves had any reason for complaint, it was the gentle persistence with which their master and his wife exhorted them to give up their false religion and become Catholics. Don Octavius even went so far as to invite the slaves to join his family in the chapel to worship the one true God with them!

Our story today is about one young slave in particular. His name was Abel, like the slain son of Adam and Eve. He felt drawn in a peculiar way to a lamp that burned in front of a shrine to Holy Mary. Abel would purchase the oil needed to keep the lamp lit from his own meager stipend. As he continued to practice this humble devotion, he would say, “I hope that this Lady will grant me some great favor.”

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian. At first the Turk resisted. But she placed her hand upon his shoulder, and said to him: “Now no longer resist, Abel, but be baptized and called Joseph,” conferring on him a name that was very dear to her Immaculate Heart indeed.

On August the 10th, 1648, there was much rejoicing in Heaven, for on that day “Joseph” and eleven other Muslims converted to the Christian faith and were baptized. Their conversion was brought about by the kindness shown by Don Octavius and the special intercession of the Mother of God.

Our story does not end here. Even once this son of hers was safely baptized, Mother Mary delighted in visiting him. Once, after having appeared to him, she was about to depart. But the Moor seized her mantle, saying, “Oh, Lady, when I find myself afflicted, I pray you to let me see you.” In fact, she one day promised him this and when Joseph found himself afflicted he invoked her, and Mary appeared to him again saying, “Have patience", and he was consoled.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

One night, the Blessed Virgin appeared to him and told him he must become a Christian.

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