++Commentary from the Catholic Navarre Commentary this week…

Luke 23: 1 Then the whole multitude of them arose and led Him to Pilate. And they began to accuse Him, saying, “We found this fellow perverting [a]the nation, and forbidding to pay taxes to Caesar, saying that He Himself is Christ, a King.”

Then Pilate asked Him, saying, “Are You the King of the Jews?”

He answered him and said, It is as you say.”

So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no fault in this Man.”

But they were the more fierce, saying, “He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place.”


Jesus underwent two trials — a religious one, following the Jewish system, and a civil one, following the Roman.

In the first trial, the Jewish authorities condemned Jesus to death on religious grounds for claiming to be the Son of God; but they could not carry out the sentence because the Romans reserved to themselves the exercise of the death penalty. The Sanhedrin now arranges a new trial before Pilate in order to get the Romans to execute the sentence they themselves have already passed. Events are moving to fulfil Jesus’ prophecy that he will die at the hands of the Gentiles (Lk 18:32).

Prayer:  O Lord, our God, in Thy goodness and love for men forgive me all the sins I have committed today in word, deed or thought. Grant me peaceful and undisturbed sleep. Send Thy Guardian Angel to guard and protect me from all evil. For Thou art the guardian of our souls and bodies, and to Thee we ascribe glory, to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever, and to the ages of ages. Amen.
*(Evening Prayer and Confession of Sins)

Commentary on Pilate and the Jews continued….

Due to the fact that the Romans were very tolerant of religious customs of subject peoples — and took no interest in them provided they did not lead to public unrest — the Jewish leaders alter the charges they bring against Jesus: from now on they accuse him of political crimes — of inciting rebellion against the Romans and of seeking to become king. And they present these charges in such a way that a verdict favourable to the accused might be interpreted in Rome as a treacherous act: “If you release this man, you are not Caesar’s friend; every one who makes himself king sets himself against Caesar” (Jn 19:12)…Jesus openly confesses that he is King; but from what he says he makes quite clear the spiritual nature of this kingship (in 18:33-38). Pilate becomes convinced that he is guilty of no crime (Jn 18:38; 19:4) and that all the charges brought against him are groundless (Mt 27:18). However, instead of efficiently delivering judgment in favour of the accused, he temporizes; he tries to gain popularity at Jesus’ expense and settles for indicating that he is convinced of his innocence — as if inviting the accusers to back off: but this only encourages them to become vociferous and complicates the situation.

By behaving in this way Pilate becomes the classic example of a compromiser: “A man, a ‘gentleman’, ready to compromise would condemn Jesus to death again” (J. Escrivá, The Way, 393).

Prayer:  Christ is Risen – Indeed He is Risen!

Luke 23:

When Pilate heard [b]of Galilee, he asked if the Man were a Galilean. And as soon as he knew that He belonged to Herod’s jurisdiction, he sent Him to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem at that time. Now when Herod saw Jesus, he was exceedingly glad; for he had desired for a long time to see Him, because he had heard many things about Him, and he hoped to see some miracle done by Him. Then he questioned Him with many words, but He answered him nothing. 10 And the chief priests and scribes stood and vehemently accused Him. 11 Then Herod, with his [c]men of war, treated Him with contempt and mocked Him, arrayed Him in a gorgeous robe, and sent Him back to Pilate. 12 That very day Pilate and Herod became friends with each other, for previously they had been at enmity with each other.

Prayer:  Soul of Christ, sanctify me, Body of Christ, save me Blood of Christ, inebriate me, Water from Christ’s side, wash me, Passion of Christ, strengthen me, O good Jesus, hear me, Within Thy wounds hide me, Suffer me not to be separated from Thee, From the malicious enemy defend me, In the hour of my death call me, And bid me come unto Thee, That I may praise Thee with Thy saints, and with Thy angels, Forever and ever, Amen.

Commentary on Jesus and Herod…

Herod Antipas normally went up to Jerusalem for the Passover, staying in his own palace in the centre of the city. By sending Jesus to Herod Pilate is trying to rid himself of a troublesome case and build up a friendship useful to his own political career.8-11 Our Lord adopts a very different attitude to Herod Antipas compared with his attitude to Pilate. Herod was superstitious, sensual and adulterous. In spite of his regard for John the Baptist, he had him beheaded to keep his oath to Salome (cf. Mk 6:14-29). Now he tries to get Jesus to perform a miracle, as if Jesus were a magician putting on a show for Herod’s entertainment. Jesus does not reply to his flattery. Our Lord’s attitude is simple, stately and also severe. His eloquent silence is a perfect example of the way to deal with behaviour of this type. Herod reacts by dressing Jesus in a rich robe, to make fun of him.12 Psalm 2 said this in prophecy of the Messiah: “The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord and his anointed.” These words are now fulfilled to the letter, as the book of the Acts points out: “For truly in this city there were gathered together against thy holy servant Jesus, whom thou didst anoint, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, to do whatever thy hand and thy plan had predestined to take place”

Prayer:  Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thine intercession was left unaided.  Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to thee do I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me.

Luke 23:

13 Then Pilate, when he had called together the chief priests, the rulers, and the people, 14 said to them, “You have brought this Man to me, as one who misleads the people. And indeed, having examined Him in your presence, I have found no fault in this Man concerning those things of which you accuse Him; 15 no, neither did Herod, for [d]I sent you back to him; and indeed nothing deserving of death has been done by Him. 16 I will therefore chastise Him and release Him 17 (for[e] it was necessary for him to release one to them at the feast).

18 And they all cried out at once, saying, “Away with this Man, and release to us Barabbas”— 19 who had been thrown into prison for a certain rebellion made in the city, and for murder.

20 Pilate, therefore, wishing to release Jesus, again called out to them. 21 But they shouted, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!”

22 Then he said to them the third time, “Why, what evil has He done? I have found no reason for death in Him. I will therefore chastise Him and let Him go.”

23 But they were insistent, demanding with loud voices that He be crucified. And the voices of these men [f]and of the chief priests prevailed. 24 So Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they requested. 25 And he released [g]to them the one they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but he delivered Jesus to their will.

Prayer:  Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in them the fire of your love. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created. And You shall renew the face of the earth. O, God, who taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit,  grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever rejoice in His consolations, Through Christ Our Lord, Amen.


Navarre Commentary on Christ’s Way of the Cross…

Jesus condemned to death and made to carry the Cross (cf. Jn 19:16-17) is devoutly contemplated by Christians in the first and second stations of the Way of the Cross, Pilate at last gives in to the Sanhedrin and condemns our Lord to the most ignominous form of punishment, death by crucifixion.

It was customary for people condemned to crucifixion to be made to carry the instrument of their own death. Our Lord fulfils in his own person the prophecies of Isaiah: “By oppression and judgment he was taken away …; he was cut off out of the land of the living, stricken for the transgression of my people. And they made his grave with the wicked” (Is 53:8-9).

26 Christian piety contemplates this episode of the Passion in the fifth station of the Way of the Cross. The soldiers forced Simon to help Jesus carry the Cross, not because they feel pity for our Lord, but because they realize that he is getting weaker and weaker and they are afraid he may die before reaching Calvary. According to tradition, preserved in the third, seventh and ninth stations of the Cross, Jesus fell three times under the weight of the Cross; but he got up again and lovingly embraced it once more in obedience to his heavenly Father’s will, seeing in the Cross the altar on which he would give his life as a propitiatory Victim for the salvation of mankind.

Prayer:  With the Saints, give rest, O Christ, to the souls of Thy servants, where there is no pain, no sorrow, no sighing, but life everlasting.
*Kontakion of the Departed


Commentary cont…

our Lord chose to be helped by Simon of Cyrene in order to show us that we — whom Simon represents — have to become co-redeemers with him. “Love for God invites us to take up the cross and feel on our own shoulders the weight of humanity. It leads us to fulfill the clear and loving plans of the Father’s will in all the circumstances of our work and life” (J. Escrivá, Christ is passing by, 97). God the Father, in his Providence, gave his Son this small consolation in the midst of his terrible suffering — just as he sent an angel to comfort him in his agony in Gethsemane (Lk 22:43). .

Other aspects of this scene of the Gospel are commented on in notes on Mt 27:32 and Mk 15:21.

27-31 The piety of these women shows that Jesus had friends as well as enemies. If we bear in mind that Jewish traditions, as recorded in the Talmud, forbade wailing for people condemned to death, we will appreciate the value of these women’s gesture.

“Among the people watching our Lord as he passes by are a number of women who are unable to restrain their compassion and break into tears, perhaps recalling those glorious days spent with Jesus, when everyone exclaimed in amazement: bene omnia fecit (Mk 7:37), he has done all things well.

But our Lord wishes to channel their weeping towards a more supernatural motive, and he invites them to weep for sins, which are the cause of the Passion and which will draw down the rigour of divine justice:

“Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children…. For if they do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?” (Lk 23:28-31).

Prayer: Christ is risen from the dead trampling down death by death and on those in the tombs bestowing life!