"OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, KING OF THE UNIVERSE"
As we celebrate the Solemnity of Christ the King, on this 33rd Sunday in Ordinary times, the gospel confronts us with the encounter between Pilate and Jesus, where Pilate asks Jesus a very straightforward question: "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." This answer clearly indicated that Christ clarified that His kingdom had nothing to do with the earthly kingship of ruling the Jews, and therefore, His kingship was not in conflict with the kingship of the Roman Emperor. Consequently, His kingship was not a revolt against the Roman occupation of Israel.
Apparently, Pilate seemed to have had no question in his mind that Jesus was speaking the truth and that Christ was innocent of any crime he was being accused of. What is disturbing is that while recognizing the truth of Jesus’ innocence, he chose to ignore it and sentenced Him to death. It is a tragedy when we fail to recognize the truth before us. It is a greater tragedy when we recognize the truth but fail to act on it. Where ever fear rules, we will never be able to receive and reflect the truth. Honorable living is more than not lying; it is also about truth telling, about truth speaking, about truth living, and about truth loving. It takes greater courage to back the truth that is unacceptable to the majority, than to compromise, because of the fear of consequences—rejection, castigation, and crucifixion. Because of this, many have suffered unjustly, the weight of the law, because those who knew better chose to be silent in the face of man’s inhumanity to man.
Yet, a lie doesn’t become a truth, and a wrong doesn’t become a right, and an evil act doesn’t become good just because it is accepted by the majority. We must never be afraid to raise our voices for honesty, truth, and compassion, against injustice, lying, and greed.
As Christians, we are called to live with integrity, and that means, refusing to settle for less than what we believe to be the truth; speaking truth to conscience, even though it might create conflict or tension; and making sure that our belief is in harmony with Scripture and our Christian values.
It is the truth of life that facts are always a threat to those who are invested in fraud. Truth never damages a cause, that is just because the duty of truth is to challenge falsehood. Whenever we experience a conspiracy of silence, in the face of falsehood, watch out because it is usually a sign of a cover-up for evil. A word of truth, in such an environment, is like a pistol-shot chattering the bedeviled silence. Our faith demands that we be the ones to trigger such shots in the face of falsehood and evil. May the good Lord grant us the courage for such bravery!