+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: THE 17 Meditation Of The Second Condemnation Of Christ In The House Of Caiphas
GIOTTO di Bondone
No. 33 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 17. Mocking of Christ (detail)
The 17 Meditation of the second condemnation of Christ in the house of CaiaphasAnd presently in the morning as soon as it was day all the chief Priests, and the elders of the people, and the Scribes assembled together against Jesus, that they might put him to death: and they brought him into their council, saying: If thou art Christ, tell us.
Consider first that now the second time they assemble into council, both because more should consent to the condemnation of Christ (For perhaps in the night many were absent) & also that they might confirm in the day time, that which the had judges in the night. There assembled 3 sorts of people, the Priests, and Elders of the people, who had the civil government & the Scribes, in with sort the Pharisees also are understood, being the religious people of the Jews: that thou waist understand; 1. That all men gave cause of death of our Lord. 2. That Christ died for all. 3. That all men ought worthily to acknowledge themselves to be sinners, and to seek help by the death of Christ.
Consider secondly that this question (If thou be Christ) which was handled all night, was the question of the Devil tempting Christ, If thou art the Son of God, and also of them which mocked our Lord on the Cross, If thou be Christ save thy self, whereby is signified first that they which doubt of their faith, are the sons of the Devil, and live in darkness: Secondly that this is the fault of all sinners, not to know who Christ is: Some will have him rich, noble, &c. they will not have him spit upon, despised, & poor: Others think him austere and sower, and are ignorant how sweet our Lord is: Others contrary wise will have him so merciful, that he will not be offended with any sins, nor punish any offenders. Do thou acknowledge in Christ both mercy and justice, and learn, that herein consisteth the highest wisdom, that thou knowest the true God, & Jesus Christ whom he sent. Then enter into the counsaile of those wicked men: Behold thy Spouse solely and evilly used by the Jews: Admire first & inquire, art not thou Christ? Can it be, that thou Christ? Can it be, that thou, which art the Son of God, the Author all Creatures, the glory of saints, wilt suffer such things for me, poor and vile worm? By these questions stir up thyself, that whilst Christ suffereth and is full of confusion, thou in the mean time seek not after gain & worldly honor.
And he said unto them: If I should tell you, you would not believe me: And if I shall ask, yes will not answer me, nor let me go: But hereafter the Son of man shall be sitting at the right hand of the power of God. And they all said: art thou then the Son of God/ who answered; you say, that I am.
Consider first that our Lord, before he professed himself to be Christ, did use a preface, for whereas he professed the same most plainly in the night and was so far from profiting, that thereby a greater accusation was framed against him; here being asked the second time, he stem to make some difficultly in answering: That thou mayest learn that the suggestions of God, being once rejected, do hardly return again.
Consider secondly, how often they asked, and never believed. For there are some, which always repeat the self same question, not because they are ignorant, but because thereby they may find out something, which may please their own will, and not be repugnant to their desire, ever learning, and never coming to the truth of knowledge. Thou also how many things doest thou know, and how few doest thou perform? Doubt not, But the Servant, which knoweth the will his Lord, and doth it not shall be beaten with many stripes.
Consider thirdly (if I shall ask, yes will not answer me) the pride of the wicked, who would not vouchsafe to answer Christ their Lord: What will they do at the latter judgment, when they shall have him for their Judge, whom they judged unworthy of their answer. Think thou hereof as often as thou shalt be admonished by God in thy conscience, and thou dost reject his inspirations.
Consider fourthly that our Lord being asked, whether he was Christ, did answer out of Davids Psalm of the sitting of the right hand of his Father, which Psalm he alleged to them another time, that by that argument (which otherwise they could not solve) they might know that the Messias was the Son of God, which they did easily understand, for they inferred upon his answer, Art thou then the Son of God? Admire the goodness of God which ceased not to admonish, and to withdraw them from this grievous sin, wherein they should sin not against man only, but against him, who was the Son of God.
Pray thou unto Christ, that the reverence & respect of him: may move thee, that whensoever thou shalt sin; who mayest think of that saying: To thee alone have I sinned, and I have done evil before thee: For it is God, who is offended, & not man alone.
But they said, what need we testimony any further, for we ourselves have heard from his own mouth. And all the multitude of them rising, and binding Jesus, brought him bound to Pilate the President
Consider first from an excellent answer an evil conclusion; because he is Christ, and the Son of God, therefore he must be offered to Pilate to die. Thou oftentimes concludes in like manner: God is merciful, therefore let us sin more freely.
Consider secondly out of St.Chrysostome, that the Jews would not put Christ to death sectetly, but openly: that the glory, which he had gotten by his miracles, might be away by the public shame and ignominy of his death, and that he might generally be esteemed a wicked man in all places. But God permitted it upon a far different reason: First that he, which should die for all men, should be put to death not secretly by the Jews only, but openly by the Gentiles also before all men. Secondly that this death, which seemed to be infamous, and full of ignominy, should sanctify all Nations, and should be glorious for ever throughout the whole world. Do thou with the Apostle Paul Glory in nothing else, but in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Consider thirdly out of St. Leo, that after Jesus was offered being bound with hard knots, beaten with many boxes & blows, defiled with spitting, condemned beforehand with clamors: To the end, that amongst so many fore-judgments, whereby every one desired to have him die; Pilate should not dare to discharge him. Follow thou thy Lord in this journey, as near as thou canst, and offer him up for thy self, not to Pilate the President, but to God the Father, & desire him, that he who was once adjudged to die for thy sins, amy by his death deliver thee from all evils.
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616