JESUS BEFORE PILATE AND HEROD. BARABBAS IS PREFERRED BEFORE HIM.
The morning being come, they lead Jesus to Pilate, that he may pronounce upon Him the sentence of death, But Pilate is aware that Jesus is innocent, and, therefore he tells the Jews that he can find no reason why he should condemn Him. However, on seeing them obstinate in their desire for His death, he referred Him to the Court of Herod. Herod, on seeing Jesus before him, desired to see some one of the Lord’s great miracles, of which he had heard accounts, wrought in his presence. The Lord would not vouchsafe so much as an answer to the questions of that audacious man. Alas, for the poor soul to which God speaks no more! O my Redeemer, such, too, were my deserts, for not having obeyed so many calls of Thine; I deserved that Thou shouldst not speak to me more, and that Thou shouldst leave me to myself: but no, my Jesus, Thou hast not abandoned me yet. Speak to me, then: Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth. Tell me what Thou desirest of me, for I will do all to please Thee.
Herod, seeing that Jesus gave him no answer, drove Him away from his house in scorn, turning Him into ridicule with all the persons of his court; and, in order to load Him with the greater contempt, he had Him clothed in a white garment, so treating Him like a fool; and thus he sent Him back again to Pilate: He despised and mocked him, putting on him a white garment, and sent him again to Pilate. (Luke xxiii. 11). Behold how Jesus, clad in that robe which makes Him a laughing-stock, is borne on along the streets of Jerusalem. O my despised Saviour, this additional wrong, of being treated as a fool, was still wanting to Thee! If, then, the Divine Wisdom is so treated by the world, happy is he who cares nothing for the world’s approbation, and desires nothing but to know Jesus crucified, and to love sufferings and contempt, saying, with the Apostle: For I judged not myself to know any thing among you, but Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1 Cor. ii. 2).
The Jews had the right of demanding from the Roman governor the liberation of a criminal on the Feast of the Passover. Pilate, therefore, asked the people which of the two they would wish to have liberated, Jesus or Barabbas: Whom will you that I release to you, Barabbas or Jesus? (Matt. xxvii. 17). Barabbas was a wicked wretch, a murderer, a thief, and held in abhorrence by all: Jesus was innocent; but the Jews cried aloud for Barabbas to live, and for Jesus to die. Ah, my Jesus, so too have I said, whenever I deliberately offended Thee for some satisfaction of my own, preferring before Thee that miserable pleasure of mine, and, in order not to lose it, contenting myself to lose Thee, O Infinite Good. But now I love Thee above every other good, and more than my life itself. Have compassion upon me, O God of mercy. And do thou, O Mary, be my advocate.