MARCH 25, 2012
5th Sunday of Lent
“And when I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw everyone to myself.”
A Lenten reflection on the Divine Person, Jesus Christ. Below is a probable, external historic account describing the person of Jesus Christ as it was found in an ancient letter written to Caesar by Publius Lentulus, the predecessor of Pontius Pilate as Governor of Judea. The original Latin manuscript is said to be in the possession of the Caesarini family ofRome.
I have learned, O Caesar, that it is your wish to know what I narrate to you. There lives in this time in Judea a man of singular character and of great virtue whose name is Jesus Christ. The people and the barbarians esteem him a prophet, but his followers hold him as divine and adore him as the immediate offspring of the immortal God, the creator of all things that are and have been made.
In truth, O Caesar, wonderful things are performed every day by this Christ. He is endowed with such unparalleled virtue as to call back the dead from their grave s and to heal every kind of disease with a single word or touch.
He is a man of noble stature and of very beautiful countenance, tall and elegantly shaped. His appearance, in which majesty resides, is amiable and reverent such that those who look at him are compelled to admire him.
His forehead is smooth and very serene. His eyes are bright, clear and serene. He is of very modest countenance. In appearance he is the most beautiful man that could be seen or imagined, just like his mother who is the most beautiful young person who has ever been seen in these parts.
He rebukes with majesty, counsels with mildness and invites with the most tender and persuasive language. His entire presentation, whether in word or in deed, being elegant, grave and strictly characteristic of so exalted a being. No man has ever seen him laugh, but the whole world beholds him weep frequently. So persuasive are his tears that no one can refrain from joining in sympathy with him. He is very moderate and wise. In short, whatever this phenomenon may turn out to be in the end, he seems at present to be a man of exquisite beauty and divine perfection, in every way surpassing the children of men.
But if your majesty, O Caesar, desires to see him as you wrote and made known to me in former letters, I will send him to you at once.
In learning he is an object of wonder to the entire city of Jerusalem. He has never studied at all, yet he knows all the sciences well. He wears sandals and goes bare headed. Many laugh at him from a distance, but in his presence they tremble. It is said that such a man has never been heard of in these parts. In truth, as the Hebrews tell me, there has never been heard such advice and such sublime doctrine as this Christ teaches. Many of the Jews hold him to be divine and they believe in him while others accuse him to me as being contrary to your majesty, Caesar. I am very much annoyed by these malicious “Hebrews”. It is acknowledged that he has never done harm and those who have had dealings with him say they have received from him benefits and health.
But to your majesty, O Caesar, and to your obedience I am most devoted; whatever you shall command me will be executed.
Farewell. From Jerusalem…the most faithful and most obedient, Publius Lentulus.
It is not possible for me to authenticate this external evidence of Jesus Christ. As with any historical fact (facts that can’t be repeated like physical science) one has to place one’s trust in another. The Bible of course is internal evidence that Jesus was like this: majestic, simple, emotional, loving, fair in his treatment to Pharisees and disciples alike. But again, we trust that God has revealed this and we meditate on it with the help ofHoly MotherChurch.
Peace in Christ,
Father Thomas McCabe