Living the Passion

Discussion in 'General discussion' started by karnala, Mar 25, 2016.

  1. karnala

    karnala Well-Known Member

    I just read a very interesting article from the Courageous Priest emails: “Why does Pilate always get so much empathy from us?”

    Because Pontius Pilate is the character in the Passion who is most like us.

    Pontius Pilate

    Pilate is educated, Western, professional; he is not a sociopath, not some oriental despot, neither particularly poor nor fantastically rich; above all, he is no religious fanatic. The purity laws of the Jews, their concerns about idolatry, seem as foreign and irrational to him as they do to us. His concern is not for God’s honor but for, to borrow a phrase from the Constitution, domestic tranquility. He wishes the Jews would disagree without being so violently disagreeable.

    Pilate is not bloodthirsty. Nor is he indifferent to justice. If given the choice, he would prefer that the innocent not die, but neither truth nor justice are his highest priorities. He is more concerned with keeping the peace and keeping his job. Pilate fears the passions of the crowd and the opinions of his superiors. He is a canny enough politician to know that it is best to stay the middle course. Even if the middle course is immoral—having Jesus beaten before he is released (Lk 23:13)—it is still moderate and centrist.

    Pilate’s actions in the Gospels even have a way of bridging differences. He becomes friends with his onetime rival, Herod. In Luke’s Gospel, Herod is spiritual but not religious. He is curious about Jesus, not wishing him any harm at first, even eager to see him. But when he realizes that there is no religious novelty in Jesus, no quick fix, no sign; when the spiritual exoticism has worn off and Herod sees in Jesus only the prospect of unpopular moral commitment, he has no use for him.

    Pilate recognizes no absolute standard of truth. “What is truth?” he asks (Jn 18:38), a question repeated in our own day often in such a tone as to imply that to answer would be offensive. Pilate, like so many of us, faced with perplexing truth claims and passionate religious differences, weighed down with a history of violence and error, takes refuge in a relativism that seeks simply to tolerate.

    Pilate has a COEXIST bumper sticker on his car.

    The problem with coexistence, however, is that it occasionally means sacrificing those who step too far out of the social order, those whose existence threatens our coexistence, whether they be innocent or not. Coexistence cannot tolerate one who says that coexistence is not enough, that there is a right and a wrong way of existing....
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2016

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