Thirty Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time: Jesus Christ, King of the Universe (José Antonio Pagola)

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Examining ourselves before the Witness to the Truth

Within the process in which the execution of Jesus is going to be decided, the Gospel of John offers a surprising private dialogue between Pilate, the Empire’s most powerful earthly representative, and Jesus, a bound criminal who is presented as a witness to the truth.

What Pilate wants precisely, it seems, is to know the truth that is enshrined in the strange person that he has standing before his throne: Are you the king of the Jews? Jesus is going to respond by laying out his truth in two fundamental statements that are very dear to the evangelist John.

My kingdom is not of this world. Jesus is not the kind of king that Pilate can imagine. He is not a pretender to Israel’s throne nor does he dispute the imperial power of Tiberius. Jesus does not belong to that system where the prefect of Rome moves about, sustained by injustice and lies. He is not supported by the power of arms. He has a completely different base. His kingship comes from God’s love for the world.

But he immediately adds something very important: I am a king … and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. It is here in this world where he wants to exercise his kingship, but in a surprising way. He comes not to govern as Tiberius, but to testify to the truth, introducing God’s love and justice to human history.

This truth that Jesus brings with him is not a theoretical doctrine. It is a call that can transform people’s lives. Jesus already said it: If you remain in my word … you will know the truth and the truth will set you free. Being faithful to Jesus’ Gospel is a unique experience, for it leads us to know a liberating truth, one that is capable of making our life more human.

Jesus Christ is the only truth that we Christians are allowed to live by.

  • Do we not need in the Church of Jesus to make a collective examination of conscience before the “Witness to the Truth?”
  • Do we dare discern with humility what truth and what falsehood there are in our following of Jesus?
  • Where is there liberating truth and where is there lie that enslaves us?
  • Do we not need to take steps toward greater levels of human and Gospel truth in our lives, our communities, our institutions?

November 22, 2015
34 Ordinary Time (B)
John 18, 33b-37

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