PILATE EXHIBITS JESUS: “BEHOLD THE MAN!”
Jesus having again been brought and set before Pilate, he beheld Him so wounded and disfigured by the scourges and the thorns, that he thought, by showing Him to them, to move the people to compassion. He therefore went out into the portico, bringing with him the afflicted Lord, and said: Behold the man! As though he would have said: Go now, and rest content with what this poor innocent One has already suffered. Behold Him brought to so low a state that He cannot long survive. Go your way, and leave Him, for He can but have a short time to live. Do thou, too, my soul, behold thy Lord in that portico, bound and half naked, covered only with Wounds and Blood; and consider to what thy Shepherd has reduced Himself, in order to save thee, a sheep that was lost.
At the same time that Pilate is exhibiting the wounded Jesus to the Jews, the Eternal Father is from Heaven inviting us to turn our eyes to behold Jesus Christ in such a condition, and in like manner says to us: Behold the man! O men, this Man whom you behold thus wounded and set at naught–He is My beloved Son, Who is suffering all this in order to pay the penalty of your sins; behold Him, and love Him. O my God and my Father, I do behold Thy Son, and I thank Him, and love Him, and hope to love Him always; but do Thou, I pray Thee, behold Him also, and for love of this Thy Son have mercy upon me; pardon me, and give me the grace never to love anything apart from Thee.
But what is it that the Jews reply, on their beholding that King of sorrows? They raise a shout and say: Crucify him! Crucify him! And seeing that Pilate, notwithstanding their clamour, was seeking a means to release Him, they worked upon his fears by telling him: If thou release this man, thou art not Caesar’s friend. (Jo. xix. 12). Pilate still makes resistance, and replies: Shall I crucify your King? And their answer is; We have no king but Caesar. (Jo. xix. 15). Ah, my adorable Jesus, these men will not recognise Thee for their King, and tell Thee that they wish for no other king but Caesar. I acknowledge Thee to be my King and God; and I protest that I wish for no other King of my heart but Thee, my Love, and my one and only Good. Wretch that I am, I at one time refused Thee for my King, and declared that I did not wish to serve Thee; but now I wish Thee alone to have dominion over my will. Do Thou make it obey Thee in all that Thou dost ordain. O Will of God, Thou art my love. Do thou, O Mary, pray for me. Thy prayers are not rejected.