+IHS PASSION OF OUR LORD: The 13 Meditation Of The Blow In The House Of Chaiphis
GIOTTO di Bondone
No. 32 Scenes from the Life of Christ: 16. Christ before Caiaphas (detail)
The the high Priest asked Jesus of his Disciples and of his Doctrine? Jesus said to him: I have spoken openly to the world, I always taught in the Synagogue and in the Temple, whether all the Jews assemble, and in secret I have spoken nothing: Why ask you me?Ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them, behold these know, what I have spoken.
Consider that when hitherto they had observed nothing in all the life of Christ worthy of death, nor yet of bonds, the high Priest began with certain fraudulent interrogations to draw something out of his answers, which might be objected as a crime unto him. For the offense of Christ was not the cause of these bonds, but the envy of the Jews, of which envy the Scripture in the book of Wisdom numbereth fourteen causes: Because he is unprofitable for us, & c.
Secondly he asked him of his Doctrine, whether it differed not from Moses,and of his Disciples, with what mind he had chosen them, what Doctrine he had taught them, and what minds they carries to the Law. Here inquire thou the Doctrine of Christ, that thou mayest imitate their manners.
Thirdly Christ answered boldly, nothing fearing the high Priest, nor that assembly of Noble-men; that thou shouldest not be afraid in Gods cause. But he held his peace concerning his Disciples, both because he could not commend them ,(and cause them he would not) that thou shouldest never hurt any mans fame; praise,if thou canst, but if thou canst not, yet detract not; and also because the question of his Disciples was mixed with the question of his doctrine, the answer whereunto satisfied the High Priest.
Consider fourthly the purity of the doctrine of Christ, which our Lord propounded to be examined by his enemies. (I have spoken openly) Which is a sign of the purity of his Doctrine: (To the world) no man is barred from the hearing thereof: (Nothing in secret) nothing impure, which need to hate or fly the light;For those things which I said in private: I would have published to all men, & preached in all places.
Consider fifthly that it was accounted a fault in the high Priest to be ignorant of those things, which Christ had taught so openly. In the same manner many great and learned men will not go to Sermons, either be accuse they will not he pricked in conscience, or else because they are so overwhelmed with world cares, that they esteem all things concerning their souls unnecessary. Do this meditate continually upon the words of our Lord, and pray him that he will always put thee in mind of his words.
When he had spoken this, one of the Servants gave a blow to Jesus, saying: doest thou answer the high Priest so? Jn.18.
Consider first that this blow was given, both because these very Servants were secretly pricked, which being sent to apprehend Jesus, returned home saying; Never did man speak so: And also of flattery, because it seemed not to be reverently spoken to the high Priest: (Why do you ask me) Proud and high minded men desire to be dealt honorably with all, and will loose none of their titles: & yet they violate the name of God with many oaths, perjuries, & blasphemies. Learn thou hereby that their are many ready to revenge the wrongs of rich and mighty men; but no man will defend the cause of Christ and of the poor.
Consider secondly the iniquity of this Judgment, where every one had power to hurt freely with applause and allowance of the Judges.
Thirdly, that this blow was of great cruelty, because particular mention is made thereof above all other, being many in number, which our Lord had already received, and should afterwards suffer. Learn thou to beare patiently the admonitions of Christ, and of other men, and pray unto God, that he will never permit thee to commit any offense without reproving thee, either by others or by thy own conscience.
Jesus answered unto him, if I have spoken evil, beare witness of the evil: but if well, why doest thou strike me. Jn.18
Fr. Francis Costerus S.J. 1616
Consider first that Christ, who had taught his disciples to turn the other cheek to him, that had stricken them, did here nothing repugnant to his own Doctrine; both because he did not only offer his cheek, but his whole body to be whipped and nailed; and also because in this place he did not complain, he offered no injury again, he made not any resistance, but taught him, that struck him, and modestly referred him to his own conscience.
Secondly that our Lord would not altogether hold his peace, least he might seem to suffer something justly for his own offense, who suffered all things for our own faults and nothing for his own. Admire here and imitate the goodness of our Lord, who would not revenge so great a wrong, neither in word nor deed. And pray unto him for constantly and meekness of meekness of mind, that thou mayest be mild and humble of heart.