The Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe Jn18: 33-34
My initial reaction is always negative when this feast comes around. `King’ carries such a weight of trappings, protocol, power, domination etc with it. Yet we are often fascinated by the royalty, why?
Whatever it is it isn’t the kind of king Jesus Christ is. Today’s gospel tells of a humble, silent, bound, abandoned and seemingly powerless Jesus. He is the very opposite to a king with all the trappings of royalty. The statue of Bom Jesus de Iguape portrays the nobility of Jesus even as He is stripped of all.
When Pilate asked if He is the King, Jesus answers ‘It’s you who say so’. Jesus goes on to say that His Kingdom is not of this world. We like the word Kindom as used in the People’s Companion to the Breviary, it seems to portray what Jesus was about, creating community, healing and encouraging people to live life to the full and confronting structures that bound them. When Pilate asks ‘then you are a king?’ Jesus answers ‘For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth’.
Do we ask, with Pilate ‘what is truth?’ No, we have our answer: ‘I am the way the truth and the life”. In this era of fake news we need, more than ever, this Truth. We know Truth because Truth is a person, it is Jesus. He is the personification and source of all truth. He is the embodiment of God, the Ultimate Truth.
Jesus’ way of living was service not power, speaking the truth at all costs. He did not seek or have the trappings of a King; He was the honest preacher who lived what He preached. We saw how He came into Jerusalem on a donkey, not on a noble horse.
Here in Haiti the donkey is the principal mode of transport, bringing people and the produce of the land to and from markets, carrying containers for water and traveling distances to fetch it, bringing children to school etc. Those walking with the donkey or riding on it carry a nobility with them. Though they have little of what we consider the necessities of life they possess an inner truth and nobility that is remarkable, not unlike Jesus stripped before Pilate.
What does the feast mean for you?
Rose Kelly RJM
Bridget O’Driscoll OP