CONSIDERATIONS ON THE PASSION OF JESUS CHRIST
The Jews, not satisfied with the injuries and blasphemies they had offered to Jesus Christ, reproached Him with the Name of His Father, saying: He trusted in God, let him now deliver him, if he will have him; for he said, I am the Son of God (Matt. xxvii. 43). This sacrilegious expression of the Jews was already foretold by David, when he said in the Name of Christ: All they that saw me laughed me to scorn … saying: He trusted in God, let him deliver him, let him save him, seeing he delighted in him (Ps. xxi. 8, 9). These very men who thus spoke were called bulls, dogs, and lions by David in the same Psalm: Fat bulls have besieged me … Many dogs have encompassed me … Save me from the mouth of the lion (Ps. xxi.). Thus, when the Jews said: Let him now deliver him if he will have him (Matt. xxvii. 43), they truly showed that they were these bulls, dogs, and lions foretold by David.
These very same blasphemies, which were one day to be spoken against the Saviour and against God, were already foretold by the Wise Man with even more exactness: He boasteth that he hath the knowledge of God, and calleth himself the son of God … He glorieth that he hath God for his father … If he be the true son of God he will befriend him and will deliver him from the hands of his enemies … Let us examine him, by outrages and tortures that we may know his meekness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a most shameful death (Wis. ii. 13-20).
The chief priests were stirred up by envy and hatred against Jesus Christ thus to insult Him; but, at the same time, they were not exempt from the fear of some great punishment, as they could not deny the miracles wrought by our Lord. Wherefore all the priests and chiefs of the Synagogue continued disturbed and in terror, and therefore desired to be present at His death, in order to be freed from this fear which tormented them. Seeing Him then fastened upon the Cross, and that He was not delivered from it by His Father, they proceeded with increased audacity to taunt Him with His helplessness and His saying He was the Son of God. They said: “He gloried that He had God for His Father; why, then, does not God deliver Him if He loves Him as His Son?” But these malicious men were in grievous error, for God did truly love Jesus Christ, and loved Him as His Son; and He loved Him on this very account, that Jesus was sacrificing His life upon the Cross for the salvation of men, in order to obey His Father. This Jesus Himself had said: I lay down my life for my sheep … therefore doth the Father love me, because I lay down my life (Jo. x. 15, 17). The Father had already destined Him to be the victim of this great sacrifice which would bring Him infinite glory — the Sacrifice of the God-man Himself — and which would ensure the salvation of all men; but if the Father had delivered Him from death, the sacrifice would have been imperfect, and then the Father would have been deprived of that glory, while men would have been deprived of their salvation.
Tertullian writes that all the insults that were offered to Jesus Christ were a secret remedy for our pride; for these injuries, which were unjust, and undeserved, were nevertheless necessary for our salvation, and becoming a God Who chose to suffer so much to save man. And then, speaking of the reproaches laid against Jesus, he adds: “Of Him they were unworthy, but to us they were necessary, and, for that reason, they were worthy of God, because nothing is so worthy of God as the salvation of man.”
Let us, therefore, who glory in being disciples of Jesus Christ, be ashamed of angrily resenting the injuries we receive from men, because the God Who made us, suffered the same for our salvation with so much patience. And let us not be ashamed of imitating Jesus Christ in pardoning those who offend us, for He Himself declares, in the Day of Judgment He will be ashamed of those who in this life have been ashamed of Him.
O my Jesus, how can I grieve over any insults I may receive, who have so often deserved to be trodden under foot by the devils in hell! Oh, by the merit of all the insults which Thou didst suffer in Thy Passion, give me grace to suffer with patience all the insults which may be offered to me, through love of Thee, Who hast embraced so many for love of me. I love Thee above all things, and desire to suffer for Thee, Who hast suffered so much for me. I hope for everything from Thee, Who hast bought me with Thy Blood. And I also hope in thy intercession, O my Mother Mary.