Today we read the Passion account from John’s gospel (18:1-19:42) which spends quite a bit of time describing the verbal exchanges between Jesus and Pontius Pilate. Clearly, Pilate found no reason to condemn Jesus to death and he tried many ways to free him but the crowds would have none of his arguments. In the end, Pilate could not withstand the pressure and was not able to “do the right thing” in using his authority to free Jesus – so he compromised his integrity by “passing the buck” and making no decision at all.
We are often confronted by decisions that are difficult to make for many reasons and sometimes it’s easier just to abdicate responsibility and allow others to do what they want even as we disagree. This certainly was not the way of Jesus. He challenged everyone to integrity. A telling verse in the gospel today is one that bears reflection. He says, in answer to Pilate: “For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth.” He could not live at any moment in any other way. What about us?