Monday, March 28, 2016

Archbishop Goodier on Pontius Pilate

Telly Savalas as Pontius Pilate

An excerpt from Archbishop Alban Goodier's The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

"We look back on the life of Jesus and notice but few occasions when He has come in contact with the ruling Romans; yet always there has been a deference, a friendliness, which cannot be mistaken.  The second miracle recorded at Cana, the cure of the official's son, may well have been wrought on the son of a Roman.  In Capharnum, after the Sermon on the Mount, He had healed the servant of a Roman soldier, and on that occasion had broken out in praise of the Roman's faith.  He had said that many would come after, from East and West, and would enter the Kingdom when the natural heirs would be cast out.  He had been the friend of the tax-collectors, men disliked because of their service of Rome; one of them He had made a chosen disciple.  When His enemies had come tempting Him about the tribute, He had taken in His hand a Roman coin, and had bidden men give to the Roman Emperor his due.  They had tempted Him again, because of a slaughter by Roman arrows in the Temple court.  But Jesus had said not a word against the Romans; He had only turned the occasion to speak to the Jews themselves.  In His parables He had spoken of princes and kings, of merchants and foreign powers; He had always spoken of them with respect.  Only at the Supper that night had He warned His disciples, the future princes of His own kingdom, that their standards were not to be as were the standards of other rulers; but even then He spoke with no word of complaint or criticism.

"Now, when we find Him before Pilate, from beginning to end His attitude is the same.  He treats Pilate always with respect; He calls upon him no woe; He will warn him, but He will not blame him; in His manner throughout there is a consideration for Pilate which would have made one more sensitive to the truth realize that he was dealing, not with a criminal on his trial, but with a friend.  Indeed one might think Pilate himself realized it.  What Roman governor, with a despicable Jew, a Jewish criminal, before him, would have condescended to such lengths as Pilate condescended in his conversation with Jesus that day?  Yet as the hours of the morning dragged on, the Judge and the Criminal became only the more intimate.  At first Pilate had before him just a Jew for whom he cared nothing; at the end he passed sentence on One who had won not only his esteem but a place in his heart.  But a little more courage, a little further response to the affection stirred within him, and not Pilate and Herod, but Pilate and Jesus might have been intimate friends from that day.  Such, even under this ordeal, was the heart of Jesus Christ."

(Alban Goodier, SJ, The Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ, PJ Kenedy & Sons, New York, pp 243-244.)

Max von Sydow as Jesus Christus


Anonymous said...

I read this book over Lent.
The book became as contemplative prayer for me on many occasions.
Highly recommend to all.

In The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Aged parent said...


It's my favorite Lenten reading. I read it almost every year and you get something new out of it each time you read it. Extraordinary book.

Anonymous said...

@ Aged parent

I to believe there will be something new the next time I read it.
The book opened up to me MANY things about my Lord that I had not considered, and more than just a passing glance, but a drop to the knees sort of moment(s).

I liken the book to the Liturgical year by Dom Prosper Gueranger. The liturgical year opens up to the Catholic the absolute Beauty and profound truth of the Liturgy of our forefathers.

Archbishop Goodier`s book has the similar effect, yet the subject is The King of Kings.

Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God Who takest away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

In The Immaculate Heart of Mary

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