Last Sunday, we celebrated the solemnity of Christ the King, a day in which we acknowledge that Jesus rules over everyone and everything.
The Gospel for the day, however, places the Lord far from his royal throne. As a prisoner, he comes before the unbelieving Pilate who questions him about his kingship. Jesus answers in a way that Pilate could never comprehend. He says:
“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.”
Jesus describes his kingship in terms of the truth. It is a wonderful connection, and one which becomes evident. The whole reason for the Incarnation, the entire public ministry of Jesus, centers upon revealing the heart of God to the human family.
Jesus focuses upon the truth. He has neither time nor patience for compromise or hidden elements. When Jesus speaks to people, he invites them to confront the reality about themselves. He does so with great compassion and understanding, but he wants always to reveal and deal with the genuine in a person’s life. If they need to repent, he speaks the words of forgiveness. If they want to reexamine the priorities in their lives, he readily offers recommendations and direction. If they seek answers, he often suggests better questions and issues. Jesus consistently directs himself towards uncovering and proclaiming the truth. The religious leaders of his time would have been a lot happier with him if he would have been less absolute, but that was not his way. Prepared to speak the truth, he would embrace whatever consequences arose from this decision. He speaks about himself as “the way, the truth, and the life,” as the “true bread which came down from heaven,” as the “true vine.” Accepting Jesus always moves one towards seeking and living with the truth.
How challenging is that for us? Are you prepared to look at the truth in your life? Can you recognize your own weakness of body and spirit, yet choose to act in the best way that you can? Are you ready to confront your own sinfulness and acknowledge your need for forgiveness and a change of life? Can you hear the words of the Gospel and allow their challenge to address you personally? Jesus invites us each day to listen to his testimony to the truth. In doing so, we recognize him as our King and choose to follow his word and his example. We belong to the truth.
Vincent speaks of simplicity in relation to the truth, but also humility:
Humility has this peculiar property, that it hinders us from aiming at any esteem but yours, O my God, who give to things their proper value. Human beings do not know their true value. Is not the role of a fool to prefer the esteem of the world to yours, the shadow to the substance, a lie to the truth?