Taken from Medulla S. Thomae Aquinatis which arranges various short texts from St. Thomas Aquinas' corpus based on the liturgical year. I will be posting the day's meditation each day and will be bringing it into print once I'm through it.
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Monday after the Second Sunday of Lent
It Was Fitting That Christ Suffered by the Hands of the Gentiles
They shall deliver Him to the Gentiles to be mocked, and scourged, and crucified. (Matthew 20:19)
The effect of Christ’s Passion was foreshown by the very manner of His death. For Christ’s Passion wrought its effect of salvation first of all among the Jews, very many of whom were baptized in His death, as is evident from Acts 2:41 and Acts 4:4. Afterwards, by the preaching of Jews, Christ’s Passion passed on to the Gentiles. Consequently it was fitting that Christ should begin His sufferings at the hands of the Jews, and, after they had delivered Him up, finish His Passion at the hands of the Gentiles.
Christ, to show the abundance of his charity on account of which he suffered upon the cross, prayed for for his persecutors. Consequently, so that the fruit of this prayer might accrue to both the Jews and Gentiles, Christ willed to suffer from both.
It was not the Gentiles but the Jews who offered the figurative sacrifices of the Old Law. Christ's passion was the oblation of the sacrifice inasmuch as Christ's own will willed death, sustained by charity; however, inasmuch as He was made to suffer by His persecutors it was not a sacrifice, but a most grave sin.
When the Jews said: it is not lawful for us to put any man to death, they understood that it was not lawful for them to put any man to death owing to the sacredness of the feast-day, which they had already begun to celebrate; or, it was because they wanted Him to be slain, not as a transgressor of the Law, but as a public enemy, since He had made Himself out to be a king, of which it was not their place to judge; or, again, it was because it was not lawful for them to crucify Him - as they wanted to - but to stone Him, as they did to Stephen. Better still is it to say that the power of putting to death was taken from them by the Romans, whose subjects they were.