Monday, October 22, 2007

4th Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross (Pilate’s wife)

No good will come of this. I told my husband that I have been much troubled as a result of my dream about this man, Jesus of Nazareth. As usual, Pontius only partly listened. I scared him, though, that I will admit. He is a weak man and given much to enquiring after omens and soothsayers. He is a weak man and is easily led, easily cowed by the fear of imagined consequences.

What would have happened if Pontius had found Jesus innocent of the charges laid against him? Surely, even if the High Priest had complained to Caesar, then my husband could have found some way of demonstrating the falsehood and self-interest behind their claims? For sure, there have been those who have set themselves up against the Roman occupation of Israel, but they are foolish. Can they not see that, whilst taxes may be high, the real extortionists are their own tax collectors, who levy their own surcharges over and above those of Rome.

My husband declared that he found no fault in the carpenter from Nazareth, but he would have him chastised in any case. Fool! Did he not see that this was a complete contradiction in terms, not realise that he went against the rightfulness of his own authority? Who chastises an innocent man? He gave the High Priest a rod with which to beat him. He will suffer for this action and I, as his wife, will also feel the consequences.

As I stand at the window of my room, the crowd below cannot see me, but I can see them and hear them. I can hear their cries of “Crucify him! Crucify him!” Do they not understand by destroying innocence, their guilt is compounded? They tell Pontius that the blood of this man will be on themselves and on their children. So be it. However, they do not understand the implications of their words.

As for Jesus, I was horrified when I saw him. Living here, I have often seen the victims of scourging. It never ceases to fill me with a mixture of dread and pity. How could my husband be so cruel? I know he is heartless and venal. How could I, as his wife, not see at least some of the crimes that he has committed and explained away? Yet to condemn this harmless Galilean who has spoken so often and so wisely was the height of folly and of cruelty.

“Behold the man!” The crowd saw him and gasped. Some of them were touched and turned away. They knew the innocence of Jesus and were rightly ashamed that their catcalls and willingness to be led by a few of the agents of the High Priest had led to the humiliation of a good man. Yet in his weakness, Pontius was pitiless in spite of my warning. He called for water and washed his hands. How could he!

Jesus was led away from the sight of the crowd, yet not from my own line of vision. I watched as the crossbeam was laid on his torn and bleeding shoulders. I couldn’t miss his cry of pain as he felt the full weight of the wood. He is so weak. Will he make it to Calvary, I wonder?

Calvary is so near and yet so far.

God bless,
Sr. Janet