Thursday, March 20, 2008

With Whom Do You Indentify?

I've been taught that one way to pray with scripture is to imagine the scene, stand back and watch it, and then pick a character with whom you most closely indentify and ponder why you do so. When I do that with the Passion, I keep coming back to Pontius Pilate. Why? He's not such a bad guy. He didn't REALLY want to crucify Christ, he just wanted to keep people happy, to keep the peace. He tried scourging Jesus in hopes that it would be enough, but it wasn't. He tried to get others to agree to set him loose, but they wanted Barrabas instead. He tried washing his hands of the whole affair, but as we all know, we DO have to take responsibility for our actions. I don't like conflict, I want to make those around me happy and when I look at what I consider some of my more serious sins over my lifetime they haven't been things where I have said "I really want to _____. I know it is wrong to ____ but I really want to do it, and I don't care what God or the Church says.". Rather they have been things where I've said "I know ____ is generally considered wrong, but _____ wants me to _______, and if I don't, then there is going to be conflict". or "If I ______ then I'll fit in better with "the gang"; if I don't then I'll look like an unrealistic goody two-shoes.". Yep, Pilate is the one to whom I relate.


  1. Anonymous7:57 PM

    Pilate would be one that I could identify with, but first and foremost, I can see being Peter. I'd love to say that I'd die for Jesus, but I can totally see me wimping out, just like Peter did. Yeah, I'm Peter.

  2. Hum- Someone who observes but does not get involved. I am afraid my name would not be in least not this year!

  3. When I was first ordained, a very wise mentor suggested that one of the best practices for preparing a homily was to identify with one or another of the characters involved in the gospel.

    When it comes to the Passion narratives, there's a number of scenes and a great cast of characters to choose from, both major roles and bit parts. I won't name them all!

    I have never chosen Pilate as the central character in a meditation on the Passion. And that surprises me, considering that I have spent 35 years in Tribunal ministry and a decade as a Judge.

    Ruthann, the Eastern Churches consider Pilate to be a saint. They recognize the qualms of conscience Pilate went through: his desire to do the right thing, and his frustration at not being able to release a prisoner he knew was guilty of no wrongdoing.

    The Eastern Churches also consider that Judas Iscariot experienced not only sorrow but genuine contrition between the time he put the rope around his neck and the moment he stopped breathing.

    The message is an Easter message: Where there's life, there's hope!


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