ProLifeCorner.com – A good friend of ours, who is a priest, shared his homily with us. It is celebrating the solemnity of Christ the King. Thank you Father, and may God richly bless you.
The Solemnity of Christ the King
Sunday, November 25th, 2012- John 18:33-38 “Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
In today’s Gospel reading which commemorates the Kingship of Christ we hear of a rather remarkable legal trial. The accusation put forth, was high treason. The judge was a pagan politician named Pontius Pilate, the governor and representative of the Roman emperor. The plaintiffs are the highest officials and dignitaries of the Jewish people. The accused is none other than Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Lord of heaven and earth.
During the course of this trial, Pilate questions Jesus in a very careful but clever manner. And Jesus answers Pilate’s questions with all the modesty of one being indicted.
Jesus eventually admits that He is a king, but He does not say that He was the Creator of the universe, Who walked the earth for the past three years working miracles and dispensing benefits to those in need. Instead, Jesus adds that His Kingship involves the teaching of the truth. Then Jesus, in a rather delicate manner, offers Pilate some advice to join the rank of believers in His teachings by saying in effect, “Anyone who loves truth and is interested in learning and knowing the truth will listen to what I have to say.”
It’s at this precise moment that Pilate understood Jesus to be innocent of the charges and of no danger to the Roman Empire. Unfortunately, Pilate did not understand Jesus in the supernatural sense, which would have proved to be so great a grace to him. Instead, Pilate considered Jesus just another teacher who founded a new school of philosophy and vaunted Himself as a king, just as children do, when they play.
But before dismissing the case before him and passing the buck to King Herod, at the local level, Pilate could not help by proposing to Jesus a rather sarcastic question, “What is truth?” In other words, “Does truth exist in fact? Is there a man who knows what truth is? Is not everything doubt and uncertainty?” By this question, Pilate, as politician and judge, shows how little he cares about religious or philosophical ideas. And then Pilate proceeded to turn his back and walk away from the King of Truth Itself – Jesus Christ.
During the course of this legal trial, Pilate the judge and politician, showed several weak points. First, he gave evidence of political indecision and of human respect. Secondly, he did not liberate an accused man when he knew him to be innocent. Thirdly, it was entirely unjust to expose an innocent man to the further ill-treatment of His enemies. However, these faults pale in comparison to the reason and source of all subsequent errors and which ultimately decided Pontius Pilate’s eternal destiny. This main fault was indifference to and contempt of objective truth.
“What is Truth?”
By this question, the pagan world, through Pilate, declared it bankrupt and closed its accounts with truth. Up until that time in history, most philosophical and pagan investigators had arrived at the unanimous conclusion that everything ends in uncertainty, which of course allowed them to rationalize all their dishonorable bodily passions. Socrates, the wisest of them all, claimed that he found objective truth, and he was poisoned for it. Plato, his disciple, died with the declaration that if man should ever arrive at the knowledge of objective truth, a God must descend to convey it to him. Well, God did arrive, and stood before Pilate the representative of paganism. Jesus, the King and Source of all truth was ready to teach Pilate – the pagan politician and judge, the truth. And Jesus was all the more ready to because Pilate had up to that point, treated Him quite fairly.
This moment in Pilate’s life was a decisive one for all time and eternity. Had the pagan politician and judge permitted himself to be taught by Jesus, he certainly would have received the grace to arrive at the knowledge of Divine Truth. But Pilate preferred to remain in his doubt and indifference to the truth. He despised the truth and he resisted the Holy Spirit. And by doing this, Pontius Pilate entered our Nicene Creed, as a warning to all who despise and turn their back on objective Truth.
This indifference to, and contempt of objective truth, and the fear of the obligations it involves are the reasons why even nowadays so many, especially in our political and court system, might be on the road to perdition. Indifference to and contempt of objective truth are the mother of free thought, of religious indifference, of practical atheism, and of moral relativism – in other words, subjective truth according to one’s own personal beliefs and opinions. These are potent errors, condemned by the Catholic Church, and rightfully so.
History has proven time and time again that these errors have produced terrible, long-term consequences for society, since moral relativism ultimately comes down to military or physical strength; in other words, “the biggest and strongest make all the rule.” regardless of who’s right and who’s wrong.
Thanks in large part to the French Revolution, and more recently, by the United States Supreme Court decision in the early 1960’s, which mandated the separation of church and state in our country, many of our children are systematically and unconsciously trained to become Pontius Pilates. Many are sent to public schools from which religion and religious instruction are banished on principle. Because no favorable word may be spoken of religion, because the text books are colorless and void of religious values, because prayer is an unknown quantity and positive religious education is entirely absent, the poor children unknowingly acquire, and retain as a rule, a religious indifference to, and contempt of truth throughout their life.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, to accept truth, or to doubt and reject truth, are not the same things to Christ. Jesus demands the sacrifice of our intellects and our wills. Therefore, we must carefully and thoughtfully consider what Jesus spoke during His trial with Pontius Pilate; “My kingdom is not of this world.”
In other words, its object is a supernatural one. Jesus declared Himself to be a king as absolutely independent from all worldly power. A kingdom which has a supernatural end cannot possibly be subordinate to a kingdom pursuing merely natural ends.
The Church founded by Christ – the Catholic Church, has the right of self-government in the fullest sense of the word.
The declaration of Jesus before Pilate defined for all times to come the mutual relations of church and state. Although both are not of this world, they are both nevertheless in the world. Both should use the means which God has furnished to attain their objects, which may be different, but not opposed to each other. And to attain a more perfect attainment of their respective objects, each ought to offer a friendly and helpful hand when the occasion calls for it. Unfortunately, the very first meeting between church and state, between Jesus and Pilate, we observe conflict and stress.
Conflict and stress which is repeated over and over throughout history and to the cost to many innocent people, and eternal ruin of those in political and judicial power, and all who blindly follow them.
If then, we are true children of the Church; we must strive for objective supernatural truth. All other objects that we legitimately strive for must be subordinate to our supreme and supernatural end. We must not busy ourselves about everything that is upon earth, but we must seek the things that are above too, where Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father, and where He rules as he King of Truth for all eternity!
Mary, Mother and Queen of Christ the King, pray for us!