Let’s talk about sin. People often think of sin merely as a transgression of God’s arbitrary law, as a blot on our heavenly driving record. Meditation on the Passion makes us know better. Sin not only alienates us from God, it corrupts us, debases us, enslaves us. The fickle crowd that carpets his way into Jerusalem with palms drives him out with a cross on his back. One of his own betrays him to his enemies, another denies him. The Roman soldiers, to whom he did no wrong and was no threat, took diabolical pleasure in brutalizing him. Hard to believe that human beings are capable of such cruelty? Auschwitz reminds us that such evil really does lurk in the hearts of men. Then there is Pilate, who seems to be a much more reasonable figure. Maybe more like us. He just wants to keep the peace, preserve his relationship with the Jewish leaders and the Emperor. If it means allowing an innocent man to be tortured to death—well, it’s regrettable, but that’s the price of living in the real world. Ultimately, Pilate’s sin is an act of cowardice. Remember, sin is not just commission but omission. It involves what we do and what we fail to do, as we say in the Confiteor.