Jesus submitted to the judgment of Pontius Pilate…

  December 6, 2015
by Fr. George W. Rutler

During the 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia [cf. Culture Wars, November 2015], a relatively unknown figure, the Archbishop of Krakow and future John Paul II, said: “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has ever experienced. I do not think that the wide circle of the American society, or the whole wide circle of the Christian community realize this fully. We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-church, between the Gospel and the anti-gospel . . . . The confrontation lies within the plans of Divine Providence. It is . . . a trial which the Church must take up, and face courageously.”

Those words in Philadelphia certainly were as prophetic as the voices in Judea thousands of years ago. In the subsequent generation, crammed with breathtaking events of universal and historic significance, heroic and tragic, we can count the manifold ways in which that future pope seemed to see the judgment of God at work.

The Second Sunday of Advent points attention to two kinds of judgment. First, and most immediate for the human condition, is the particular judgment each of us will experience at the moment of death, when our life passes before us. Christ as Judge makes no arbitrary decisions, but rather avails himself as the measure of our compatibility with his love. The other judgment is the social judgment of the whole world. This will happen at the end of time when all created things and time and space themselves will end. There was an intimation of this in the earthquake when Christ died on the cross, as prelude to his resurrection when he could “die no more.”

Confronting the Judge, we have the option of two kinds of fear. The first is the perplexity of the person who knows only self-love and has lived life as though the self were God. The second is the joyful awe sensed by the person who has loved God and neighbor as much as the self.

In the moral order, people have to make judgments for the sake of sanity, but those judgments must be based on standards outside one’s sentiments, rather than the way we measure objects according to the standards set by the Bureau of Weights and Measures. Jesus submitted to the judgment of Pontius Pilate, and by so doing, he took on the suffering of those who are wrongly judged. But Jesus did not deny Pilate’s right to pass judgment, while reminding Pilate that he was answerable to a higher authority: “You would have no power over me were it not given to you from above” (John 19:11). The command not to judge others is about defining justice without accountability to God. “He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day” (John 12:48).

About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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1 Response to Jesus submitted to the judgment of Pontius Pilate…

  1. In his address during his historic visit to the Great Synagogue of Rome April 13, 1986, Pope John Paul II said:

    …the Church of Christ discovers her ‘bond’ with Judaism by ‘searching into her own mystery.’ The Jewish religion is not ‘extrinsic’ to us, but in a certain way is ‘intrinsic’ to our own religion. With Judaism, therefore, we have a relationship which we do not have with any other religion. You are our dearly beloved brothers and, in a certain way, it could be said that you are our elder brothers.”

    He was specifically addressing living Jews who have no – zip, zero, nada – connection with Old Testament Judaism.

    With the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD as punishment for the crime of Deicide, the Jewish religion died for the Temple and The priesthood and the Sacrifices were destroyed/abolished and Rabbinical Judaism was created to war against Jesus Christ and his Church – and those Messias-Denying, Holocaust-Denying false religion revolutionaries are our elder brothers?

    Look around, where is the Temple, Priesthood, and Animal Sacrifices that were constitutive of Judaism?

    Nowhere, for now.

    Few men know that Rabbinical Judaism has re-establsiehed the Sanhedrin and there are plans to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and to sacrifice a red heifer, so, they’ve got that going for them, but, back to our elder brothers.

    With our putative elder brothers being they who formed as rabbinical judaism in 70 AD we have on our hands a miracle in that our elder brethren are younger than we are.

    Who knows these novel mysteries, who professes these novel mysteries?

    The Shadow (church) does.

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