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Archive for November 12th, 2018


Matthew 27:1-2Standing before Pilate

Monday, November 12, 2018

Antonio Ciseri: Ecce homo

Today’s Gospel (Luke 24:35-48) is the second half of the Emmaus story.  The disciples who fled Jerusalem in order to escape chaos return to share their story of the Risen Christ.  They want to tell their beleaguered friends that the one who stood accused before Pilate had returned anew.  The plot of Judas and the church leaders that had once looked so successful now seemed a failure.  The world had turned upside down – just as Jesus had predicted – and the grief they had felt had now turned to joy.  As they tell their story, Jesus enters their midst as if to verify their incredible words: The one who stood before Pilate not only lives but he eats and breathes and wants to calm their fears.  His first words to them are: Peace be with you.  And then the story continues: But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost.  Then he said to them, “Why are you troubled?  And why do questions arise in your hearts?  Look at my hands and my feet, that it is I myself.  Touch me and see, because a ghost does not have flesh and bones as you can see I have.”  And as he said this, he showed them his hands and his feet.  While they were still incredulous for joy and were amazed, he asked them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of baked fish; he took it and ate it in front of them.

This was no ghost.  Jesus was not conjured up from their hysteria or imagination.  This was real.  The one who appeared to fail had overcome.  He still bore the marks of his terrible death; yet this death had no effect upon him.  The builder’s stone that had been rejected was now a strong foundation.  And this same conversion and redemption are offered to each of us . . . Jesus’ sisters and brothers.

I am thinking of how difficult it must have been to stand before Pilate as Jesus did to suffer and die for someone else’s sake.  I am thinking of how joyful it must have been a few short days later to enter into a room of dear friends to assure them that all was well.

When we are faced with difficult decisions we do not want to make, we must remember Jesus standing before Pilate.

When we are the lone witness to injustice and violence, we must remember Jesus standing before Pilate.

When we feel abandoned by family and friends, we must remember Jesus standing before Pilate.

When everything in us wants to run, wants to defend, wants to go to any means to survive, we must remember Jesus standing before Pilate.

On this Easter Thursday if we ask: Are we willing to stand before Pilate as Jesus does?  What will be our response?


A favorite from Easter Thursday, April 28, 2011, re-posted on October 10, 2011.

Image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ecce_homo 

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