Jesus Christ the King of the Universe ? 25-26 November 2006
The main issue of today?s Gospel is not the problem of the political power or even the discussion about the legitimacy of Jesus Christ as a King of Israel. The main question is rather the understanding of the TRUTH. The Gospel finishes by the words of Jesus: ?For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice." The next verse of the Gospel (38) is Pilate cynical question: ?What is truth??
The Gospel speaks of a strange confrontation between Pilate, the Roman Governor, and Jesus. An encounter between
- a man who feels, as the chief authority of a colonial regime, that he has unlimited power and
- Jesus, a traveling preacher who seems to have none.
This is a strange confrontation between two visions of the world ?.
- of Pilate, who tries to be politically correct, and who relay on the understanding of the power as a demonstration of the physical force, and ?
- Jesus, Who seems to be powerless
"Are you the King of the Jews?" asks Pilate. He is irritated when Jesus asks in return if it is an honest question or just an echo of rumors and accusations heard from others. Pilate is decidedly uncomfortable that Jesus, a member of a despised and subject people, speaks to him as one equal to another, as one human being to another. The balance of power is shifting and Pilate does not like it.
Real power and real authority are not in positions or titles but in the inner strength of the person. Real power is in the TRUTH, which is behind it.
- Jesus does not speak down to anyone as Pilate is trying to do. Jesus' power and authority is not dominating but enabling and empowering. Only the weak feel the need to dominate. Somebody who is strong with the strength of the internal truth doesn?t need to dominate.
- Although Jesus does not explicitly respond by saying, "I am a king", he does speak very clearly about "my Kingdom" or "my Kingship". He says it is "not of this world".
This discussion and confrontation between Pilate and Jesus, however is rooted deeper in the confrontation about the truth.
The cynical question of Pilate: "What is truth?" is revealing the main and crucial question of the whole humanity. This question is present in all contemporary discussions about the impossibility of the truth and its relativity. Nowadays, in our contemporary societies we are facing the same problem of the relativistic approach to the truth, the situationism, the ethical, moral and epistemological subjectivism. Everybody is able to have its own, private truth. There are as many truths as people living in the society. All and everything is admissible and equal, democratically we can vote about the truth of most fundamental values of human life. Even the love itself depends of the understanding of the TRUTH. So the most fundamental question is the question of Pilat, but reformulated : ?What is the truth ?? or Who is the TRUTH?
Jesus answers the question of Pilate and at the same time all our questions stating strongly and clearly: ?I am the Truth, I am the Way, and I am the Life. Whoever would like to come to the Father has to pass trough me!!!? (John 14, 16)
The truth that we must all seek and obey cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own internal consistence, as it makes its entrance into the mind at once quietly and with power.
Pilate, who cynically dismisses any claim to know the truth, and allows Jesus' fate to be determined democratically by the will of the majority ? is the example of our democratic societies, which are voting about the fate of the unborn children, and the old and sick members of these societies.
Jesus reminds Pilate that his legitimate political authority comes to him, not from the people, but "from above," that is to say, from certain moral values rooted in God, which should be practiced in the daily life of all political authorities.
Jesus our King, dying on the cross, was the victory of truth, of justice, of compassion and, above all, of love. The greatest love any one can show is to give his life for his friends. This is the power of our King, a power that nothing else can overcome.
Yet Jesus is not really our King unless we are consciously his subjects.
?Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice? - says Jesus in today?s Gospel, and I ask myself: ?Do I belongs to the truth, do I listen to His voice??
During a session of the UN a certain cardinal presenting Vatican?s position in some moral questions was attacked by some politicians. In an answer he said, ?I prefer to be crucified for the truth than crucify the truth in my life and in my speech?. And, how it is in my life?
He is not our King if we do not listen to him, love him, serve him, follow him. He is not our King if we do not actively identify with the goals, the aims of his kingship. We come under his kingship not just because we are baptized or because we carry the name Christian or Catholic nor even because we involve ourselves in various religious activities. We can say we really belong to his kingship
when we try to walk with him,
when we try to live our lives fully in the spirit of the Gospel,
when that Gospel spirit penetrates every facet of our living.