Jakarta, 29 November 2018
A Christian Pilgrim
A KINGDOM OF TRUTH
(A biblical refection on the solemnity of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, UNIVERSAL KING [YEAR B] – Sunday, 25 November 2018)
Gospel Reading: John 18:33-37
First Reading: Daniel 7:13-14; Psalms: Psalm 93:1-2,5; Second Reading: Revelation 1:5-8
The Scripture Text
Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to Him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about Me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed You over to me; what have You done?” Jesus answered, “My kingship is not of this world; if My kingship were of this world, My servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but My kingship is not from the world.” Pilate said to Him, “So you are a King?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a King. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears My voice.” (John 18:33-37 RSV)
Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?” (John 18:38a). But he did not wait for an answer. Truth was standing before him and perhaps Pilate felt the light of that prisoner already challenging the foundations of his life.
The Kingdom of Jesus had no ambitions on the acquisition of land. The only territory that concerned Him was he human heart. The Kingdom is established in the heart of anybody who lives a life of truth. God reigns there when one is true to self, true to others and true to God.
Without truth there can be no justice: and without justice there can be no peace. If you wish to see peace established throughout the world, then start working for justice through the process of truth. It may be a lonely struggle for it involves very uncomfortable tasks like refuting falsehood, showing up the untruth that is masked in the half-truth, and challenging the systems that exploit people and rip them off. But for each of us the most uncomfortable task of all is that the work begins with me.
Truth is a scarce commodity today. Our so-called system of justice serves the law but not necessarily the truth. Very often the truth of a case is disregarded and an injustice is perpetrated on the basis of some small legal technicality. Truth has so departed from the courts of justice that perjury is virtually taken for granted as a means to the end.
We live in a society conditioned by the ethics of consumerism. Most multi-national corporations exist primarily for the motive of profit. Expansion is the law of survival. Marketing and advertising are obviously guided by success rather than the truthful guidance of the potential customer. In some countries government agencies employ experts to supply not the truth but disinformation in the interests of expediency.
At the end of the day, people find it hard to believe anybody. Is it any wonder then that so many people suffer from an identity crisis? They do not know who they are or what their life is for. They experience a major difficulty in establishing a true relationship between the mind and reality. Many people have become so obsessed with their search for identity that the major goal of life is their self-fulfilment. This is a goal which falls far short of what Jesus called for: self-effacement in the humble service of others. The eminent psycho-analyst, Karl Jung, arrived at this conclusion: “Our world is so exceedingly rich in delusions that truth is priceless”.
Jesus came into this world to bear witness to the truth. One of His great divine claims was, “I am the truth” (John 14:6). In John’s Gospel and his letters the clash between truth and falsehood is one of the major, ongoing struggles of humanity.
The follower of Jesus must be committed to the truth. It is helpful if we consider ourselves to be always before the light of God’s eye. “… walk before me, and be blameless” (Genesis 17:1). In God’s light our pretences are unmasked, the games we play are shown up and our sham behavior is exposed. But the Kingdom person is someone who “lives by the truth and comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God’.
(Adapted from Fr. Silvester O’Flynn OFMCap., The Good News of Mark’s Year, Dublin, Ireland: THE COLUMBIA PRESS in association with CATHEDRAL BOOKS, First Edition: 1990; Reprinted: 1993, pages 287-288.)
Short Prayer: Jesus Christ, King of heaven and earth, I adore You as my King! I am thankful that You protect me, care for me, and hear me when I call to You. Grant me Your goodness and mercy all the days of my life. May I dwell with You in Your Kingdom forever. Amen.
Jakarta, 24 November 2018
A Christian Pilgrim
Today’s Gospel Reading: John 1:47-51 – FEAST OF SAINTS MICHAEL, GABRIEL AND RAPHAEL: Saturday, 29 September 2018
A characteristic typical of Judaism after the exile was a concentration on angels. Angels appear throughout the Bible but were really emphasized after the exile. Today’s first reading from Daniel, a post-exilic work, underscores this emphasis.
The nature of angels and archangels is a topic of interest today. Billy Graham, Mortimer Adler and David Jeremiah wrote very successful books on the topic, namely Angels, The Angels and Us, and Angel respectively.
The function of the angels is as messengers, which is the original meaning of the the Greek word, angellos. They are intermediaries from God and are ways that God has dramatically intervened in human life. The angels remind us that there is more to creation than what we can see. Creation is a great deal more than the material world. Whatever the dimensions of the spiritual world, archangels emind us that it is subject to God’s power and His redemptive purpose.
Jakarta, 29 September 2018
A Chrstian Pilgrim
Today’s Gospel Reading: John 3:13-17 – FEAST OF THE TRIUMPH OF THE CROSS: 14 September 2018
The strange name of this feast can mean several things. It can mean the triumph of the cross as a Christian symbol. Because it could not be displayed publicly for four centuries, Christians used the anchor or fish as symbols of the Lord. By the thirteenth century, there were all kinds and styles of crosses. This feast is an amalgamation of many different local feasts celebrating the cross.
The meaning of “triumph” goes deeper. The cross sums up a life. Today’s second reading (Philippians 2:6-11) is Paul’s quotation of a Christian hymn about the obedience of Christ. The cross is a powerful symbol of His obedience to the Father. Jesus obeyed the Father’s will not only in death but throughout His life. The cross sums up everything Jesus said and did.
Today’s Gospel reading shows us the cross as a symbol of victory. If lifted up, the Lord will draw all things to Himself. Because of His obedience, the Risen Christ now shares His life with us through the Holy Spirit.
The cross means different things to different people. It signifies inhumanity, the humanity of God, the value of suffering, God’s love, Jesus’ obedience, victory, forgiveness, sacrifice and life from death. We bring our own emotions, memories and life experiences to the cross. Just as Jesus give us life from His crucified death, so He fills whatever we bring to the cross with the power of Easter.
Jakarta, 14 September 2018
A Christian Pilgrim