Gospel: Matthew 27:11-54
Jesus stood before the governor, Pontius Pilate, who questioned him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” Jesus said, “You say so.” And when he was accused by the chief priests and elders, he made no answer. Then Pilate said to him, “Do you not hear how many things they are testifying against you?” But he did not answer him one word, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
Now on the occasion of the feast the governor was accustomed to release to the crowd one prisoner whom they wished. And at that time they had a notorious prisoner called Barabbas. So when they had assembled, Pilate said to them, “Which one do you want me to release to you, Barabbas, or Jesus called Christ?” For he knew that it was out of envy that they had handed him over. While he was still seated on the bench, his wife sent him a message, “Have nothing to do with that righteous man. I suffered much in a dream today because of him.”
The chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas but to destroy Jesus. The governor said to them in reply, “Which of the two do you want me to release to you?” They answered, “Barabbas!” Pilate said to them, “Then what shall I do with Jesus called Christ?” They all said,
“Let him be crucified!” But he said, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Let him be crucified!” When Pilate saw that he was not succeeding at all, but that a riot was breaking out instead, he took water and washed his hands in the sight of the crowd, saying, “I am innocent of this man’s blood. Look to it yourselves.” And the whole people said in reply,
“His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Then he released Barabbas to them, but after he had Jesus scourged, he handed him over to be crucified.
Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus inside the praetorium and gathered the whole cohort around him. They stripped off his clothes and threw a scarlet military cloak about him.
Weaving a crown out of thorns, they placed it on his head, and a reed in his right hand. And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” They spat upon him and took the reed and kept striking him on the head. And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the cloak, dressed him in his own clothes, and led him off to crucify him.
As they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry his cross.
And when they came to a place called Golgotha — which means Place of the Skull —, they gave Jesus wine to drink mixed with gall. But when he had tasted it, he refused to drink. After they had crucified him, they divided his garments by casting lots; then they sat down and kept watch over him there. And they placed over his head the written charge against him: This is Jesus, the King of the Jews. Two revolutionaries were crucified with him, one on his right and the other on his left.
Those passing by reviled him, shaking their heads and saying, “You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself, if you are the Son of God, and come down from the cross!” Likewise the chief priests with the scribes and elders mocked him and said, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. So he is the king of Israel! Let him come down from the cross now, and we will believe in him. He trusted in God; let him deliver him now if he wants him. For he said, ‘I am the Son of God.'” The revolutionaries who were crucified with him also kept abusing him in the same way.
From noon onward, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And about three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” Some of the bystanders who heard it said, “This one is calling for Elijah.” Immediately one of them ran to get a sponge; he soaked it in wine, and putting it on a reed, gave it to him to drink. But the rest said, ‘Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to save him.” But Jesus cried out again in a loud voice, and gave up his spirit.
[Here all kneel and pause for a short time.]
And behold, the veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth quaked, rocks were split, tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had fallen asleep were raised. And coming forth from their tombs after his resurrection, they entered the holy city and appeared to many. The centurion and the men with him who were keeping watch over Jesus feared greatly when they saw the earthquake and all that was happening, and they said, “Truly, this was the Son of God!”
Today, our gospel is from Matthew 27:11-54 which reminds us once again of what is coming this Holy Week. In our gospel, Jesus stood before Pontius Pilate. Pilate asked Jesus questions. “Are you the King of the Jews?” – Pilate asked Jesus. Jesus stood there in His heavenly grace and calm even though He knew what is going to happen. There are few things we must try to analyze in this gospel.
First, in Matthew 27:11-54 Pilate knew very well that Jesus was innocent yet, Pilate chose the will of the people. Why does Pilate act so? Pilate was afraid that he will lose his power and career to the extent of abandoning the innocent. He turned blind-eye and instead washed his hands even though he knew his guilt. He chose not to do the right thing even though he has a choice.
Like Pontius Pilate, sometimes we abandoned our faith over some pathetic pleasure. We knew very well that certain things are wrong yet we turned blind-eye over it. We washed our hands because in the first place, we know the fact that it is wrong.
Another thing we should see in the gospel from Matthew 27:11-54 is that the people who turned down Jesus. These people were the same people who welcomed Jesus with palm leaves in their hands. These people waved their palms as they welcome Jesus in their place yet they abandoned Jesus. Look how easy they were to turn their backs on Him and sent Him to His crucifixion.
Matthew 27:11-54 taught us that these people are also us. We love Jesus but we somehow always abandoned Him many times in our lives. How could it be so the same? How could we make up and repent?
This Holy Week, let us all review ourselves if how and what are the times we became like Pilate and the people. We should make up our minds and ask Jesus for forgiveness and strength. Ae should all reminisce the sufferings of Jesus on the cross. This is the message brought to us by our gospel from Matthew 27:11-54. – Clea | Helpline PH
Special event: Palm Sunday
Song Rendition: The Cross