November 21, 2021
We don’t use, today, the language of politics to describe Jesus. The feudal systems of monarchs and kings went out of fashion in the 18th Century with the French revolution. Yet it took much longer for European monarchies to vanish. There are still a few nominal monarchies — England, Belgium, Spain.
In feudal societies, the king [dictated] everything – with a divine right. Kings were appointed by God (so it was believed). That ended with the guillotine.
Even Israel had kings as rulers.
Jesus does not need the title “King” – so why do we continue to call him one?
In today’s gospel, Jesus questioned Pilate the Roman Governor: “Why are you calling me a king? The reason I was born, he tells Pilate, was to testify to the Truth.
Political leaders usually have trouble telling the truth because their interests are contaminated by egos, economies, power plays, and whatever will bolster their prominence — even Presidents as well. Do we want to call Jesus Christ, the President, the King?
Perhaps we should call Jesus the Truth Teller because he knew more about Pilate’s life and heart and intentions than Pilate did. The same goes for us. He knows the truth of our lives. And if we ask him, he will shine his light on us so that we present to him our truest selves.
Jesus is not interested in embarrassing us. He is interested in helping us to know the truth of the direction of our own lives and helping us to truly become our best self.
Jesus reveals himself in our second reading today as someone who frees us from our sins, from our egos, from our fears, from our insecurities, and who brings us into a kingdom-like existence. He calls us priests for his God and Father. A priest is anyone who serves God in his life, who lives charity in his life, who does the good, who is his own unique brand of mediating goodness and love.
“I am the Alpha and the Omega” which means that He is Everything, from the beginning to the end, from the “start to the finish.” This is the truth to which he testifies.
To what do we testify? To ourselves and to our dream for our life? Or to God who sees more potential to our life than we do? Today, Jesus raises his expectations for each one of us. There is nothing mediocre about his expectations for us.
If he can stand before Pilate and look at him in the eye, he can stand before us, eyeball to eyeball. He does care if we are wasting our life and going in the wrong direction. He does care if there is nothing substantial happening in our life. He does care if we never think about him or if we refuse to let him help us.
Jesus has testified to the Truth for 2,000 plus years of our lives. What about our lives? [Are we testifying to the Truth?]
So, what do we want to do? “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice,” Jesus says. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and if we read his words over and over, we too will come to the truth. We will know how to live, know what to do, and what to say.
So, here is my conversation with Jesus today:
Jesus, we don’t need a king. We need you to be our personal and spiritual guide. We don’t need you to sit on some kind of throne to arbitrate what we should do. We need you as a light in our minds and hearts to show a way of integrity. We need you to walk with us. We need you as a companion. We don’t need someone else’s orders, rules, and irrelevant customs… We need your soul and your spirit. We need your patience and humor. We need someone who shares our every day, every part of our day. We want you to side with us, to talk with us, to eat with us.
That you are a king is someone else’s idea. It was not yours, and it should not be ours.
So, are we ready to give Jesus the first place in our life?
If we make him first, Jesus will make us first.