Testifying to the Whole Truth
Today is the last Sunday of the Year and always on this day, we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King.
In today’s Gospel, we see the powerful scene of Jesus before Pilate arrested and brought before him by the leaders of the Jews. This is important because this represents the Jews and Gentiles, in other words, all humanity.
We can look at this scene in two ways: One physically, like we had a camera and see Jesus standing relatively quietly, humble between the two sets of leaders. We can also look at it, as it truly is cosmologically and see Jesus between Pilate and the Jews and see also all that they do not see. It is the second of these two visions that the Church shows to us this day.
The universe is bigger than our ability to understand it. It is greater than our ability to see it. There is a greater truth that we can know on our own and Jesus Christ embodies it.
He came not only to save us from condemnation, but also to help us see and understand our existence more deeply in truth.
Jesus, because He is God, has a full awareness of all that exists especially what is beyond our ability to see. Remember, He tells Pilate that His kingdom has also a spiritual dimension that Pilate cannot possibly understand. During Our Lord’s ministry He not only acted in this full awareness, He also tried to teach it.
Look in the Gospel and see how many times Jesus acts in ways that leave others speechless. We know of the healings, but there are other miracles that are even more poignant. Say for example when He walked on water. Ask yourself: “Why did Jesus walk on water in the first place?” He did not have to, He could have never used this ability and would have accomplished many things. So why did He do it? He did it to teach the apostles to start understanding the universe in a way that was beyond their ability to see it. He was trying to teach them to see through the eyes of faith. He wanted them to understand the truth that later neither Pilate nor the leaders of the Jews were able to see or understand when He stood between them.
The Council of Trent teaches that Christ’s Kingdom is, as He says, not of this world. It is one that begins in the spiritual and then encompasses the physical. Whereas Pilate and the leaders of the Jews lived in a world where they only focused on the physical outside the understanding that the universe was bigger than their ability to comprehend it. Jesus embodies the truth that in true realm, power and riches are found in those who love and sacrifice not in those who hoard and keep.
In Rome, there is a prison located just beyond the ruins of the Roman Forum and the Coliseum. Saints Peter and Paul were imprisoned there awaiting their execution. They would look outside of the prison and see the majesty that was Rome. It would be a busy place that celebrated the power of the Roman Empire similar to the Capitol Building in Washington, DC or the Kremlin in Russia.
The Romans put their faith completely in the power of the empire. They believed that the Roman Empire would exist for all time and that its power would be everlasting. They even came to believe that the emperor was a god. Saints Peter and Paul knew what the Romans did not, there would come a time when there would be no Roman Empire, nor emperor and even the forum would be meaningless. But the Christ they preached would be forever.
If you go to that same place today, the prison still stands, although it is no longer used. However the Forum is nothing but ruins. What is more fascinating is centuries after the fall of the empire, the forum was lost.
This is the power that Pilate and the leaders of the Jews trusted. But standing between them was Jesus who is the Truth and who embodies our universe in ways that neither Pilate nor the leaders of the Jews would ever be able to understand.
Here is where it becomes key.
By virtue of your baptism, your participation in the sacraments, your life of prayer and your Catholic way of life, each of you have been called to testify to this truth which is greater than what you can find outside of Christ.
You can learn human truth at the local universities and we must, but that truth is limited to the material world. Christ is all of that and the truth that we cannot see that we can only understand in faith.
Christ calls us to live His truth so that we can be witnesses to it in our daily lives. Sin is rooted in what is false, so we must avoid it. We must embrace the truth which is Christ.
Notice Jesus calls us to be witnesses. He never calls us to do go good for the sake of doing good. He instead calls us to be witnesses to the truth that can only be understood when we understand the world beyond what we can see.
Today, many in our world are trying to teach people to reject God, to reject our Church, to believe that all that exists is what you can see. I was reading an article from an Atheist professor in England, who blatantly rejects the existence of God. Therefore, he sees nothing more than Jesus standing between the leaders of the Jews and Pilate and can see nothing more and he believes in nothing more.
However, you have been called to live with the deeper understanding of the truth. That deeper understanding that Jesus tries to teach to the apostles. It is an understanding that they came to believe after His resurrection and then preached throughout the world. You have a calling to live, move and have your being in this understanding. To act on it, and to witness to it, so that others can understand their world differently.
Jesus, standing between Pilate and the leaders of the Jews, embodies an understanding of the universe beyond what they could comprehend. It is the same understanding that He calls you to live by and to preach by the way you live your lives.
This is why it is urgent that we reject sin and embrace the Gospel because you and I as subjects of Christ the King have a mission to testify to the truth that Christ revealed during His life and proved at His resurrection.
Please feel free to share this homily with others. If you have questions or comments please come to discuss them at St. Anthony parish 43 Holton St. in Allston, MA. Weekend Masses in English are Saturday afternoon at 4:00 and Sunday Morning at 10:00,
Brazilian Portuguese Sundays at 8:00am and 7:00pm.
Photo: Carla Tavares (contact: User:Nuno Tavares) '''Description:'''' en:Roman Forum CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=93229