Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom (Lk. 23:42)
Pilate asks Jesus, “What is truth.” And just like that, he leaves and goes to the other side where the Jews are. He cannot bear the truth.
Pilate does the same as the high priests and their followers among the scribes, the Pharisees, the Herodians and the Sadducees. They all affirm they have no king but Caesar. The Roman and these who are simply called “Jews” reject the one who, testifying to the truth that he is the messianic king, the Son of God, invites them to faith. They do not belong to the truth, so the invitation falls on deaf ears. Is not their guilt due basically to their having much to lose?
Pilate is sure of Jesus’ innocence, yet he has him scourged and lets him be cruelly mocked. The politician does what is convenient, at the expense of the just. He then hands him over to be crucified; he does not want to lose Caesar’s friendship.
The accusers who are afraid to lose both their sacred place and their nation have greater sin. They let themselves be convinced by Caiaphas’ counsel that it is better that one man should die rather than the people. Any person, then, can be sacrificed to the common good, as proposed by the religious leaders. And they are in-charge of the temple where there are, according to Father Pagola, huge storage rooms for the grain from the tithes and firstfruits.
Those with nothing to lose, however, accept the truth of Christ the King. They have neither selfish ambition nor hidden agendas. Without interests of their own to promote, they do not need to turn the cross into an ideology of exploitation. They have no reason to distort, as does individualism that masquerades as subsidiarity, such sayings as: “My kingdom is not of this world”; “The poor you will always have with you”; “Repay to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.” These who have nothing are proclaimed blessed, yes, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
The most outstanding example of the poor who are truly free, to whom it is all the same to be well fed or to go hungry, to live in abundance or to be in need (Phil. 4:11-12), is the one conceived without sin. Without the prestige of the proud to lose, nor rich and powerful throne, the Lord’s lowly handmaid believes the angel’s announcement that her son will be the eternal king of the kingdom without end.
Notable examples too are: St. Catherine Labouré who, not needing to put on airs, remains level-headed and silent in imitation of the Johannine Jesus whose stately bearing shows in his serenity and silence amid suffering; St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac and St. Elizabeth of Hungary, who recognize the royal dignity of the their “lords and masters,” on whose behalf they empty themselves of themselves and of everything that appears to be theirs; St. Ignatius of Loyola who, upon hearing and contemplating the heavenly king, so much more liberal and kind than the most liberal and kindest of earthly kings, follows him and gives back to him all that he has received from him.
And all those with nothing and awaiting the coming amid the clouds of the ruler of the kings of the earth—which is obvious in their proclamation of the death of the Lord until he comes—are further blessed, for they will see the truth face to face when the same Lord girds himself, has them recline at table, and proceeds to wait on them (Lk. 12:37-38).