By: Cesar Lona
As soon as morning came, the chief priests with the elders and the scribes, that is, the whole Sanhedrin, held a council. They bound Jesus, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate…..Now on the occasion of the feast he used to release to them one prisoner whom they requested. A man called Barabbas was then in prison along with the rebels who had committed murder in a rebellion. The crowd came forward and began to ask him to do for them as he was accustomed. Pilate answered, “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” For he knew that it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed him over. But the chief priests stirred up the crowd to have him release Barabbas for them instead. Pilate again said to them in reply, “Then what [do you want] me to do with [the man you call] king of the Jews?” They shouted again, “Crucify him.” Pilate said to them, “Why? What evil has he done?” They only shouted the louder, “Crucify him.” So Pilate, wishing to satisfy the crowd, released Barabbas to them and, after he had Jesus scourged, handed him over to be crucified. – Mark 15:1, 6-15
Pilate desperately wanted to release Jesus, he wanted absolutely nothing to do with his death. But seeing “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” Matthew 27:24. Pilate was more concerned with his own future and lacked the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing.
Have you like me, on occasion, acted just like Pilate? Our faith should impact every aspect of our lives, do we have the courage to allow it? If your friend is in an adulterous relationship or addicted to pornography do you challenge him on it? Or do you “mind” your own business? If a family member is struggling with same-sex attraction, do you sit with them and explain the Church’s teaching? When someone challenges you on the faith can you answer them or at least know where to find answers? Who is going to teach your children about God, you or society?
Too often we allow ourselves to be bullied by our secularized society. We either lack the knowledge, courage, or are overly concerned with what others may think of us. So like Pilate we release Barabbas. We let our friend destroy his marriage through the use of pornography because “who am I to judge?” We fail to love the same-sex attracted family member and let them put their souls in jeopardy. We fail to defend Church teaching on life and marriage. We allow secular society to teach our children about God. When does it stop? When will we have enough?
“To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth… such mode of behaving is base and is insulting to God…This kind of conduct is profitable only to the enemies of the faith, for nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good… Christians are, moreover, born for combat.” – Pope Leo XIII
Now more than ever we need courageous Catholic men to take a stand in the public square. Lukewarm Catholicism is no longer an option. We must refuse to be like Pilate, we must release Jesus. Do the right thing always no matter the consequence.