Ps 93:1-2, 5
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
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.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
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.”
When the question of Christ’s kingship comes up in this Sunday’s Gospel reading, Jesus redirects us to the true meaning of divine kingship. Without denying that he is the king, he says: “The reason I was born into the world is to testify to the truth.” He is not the king of a country or a world; he is the king of truth, the ruler of reality.
The perception of reality that we develop when Jesus is not our teacher and interpreter and revealer of truth is warped and blurred by the falsehoods and misunderstandings and counterfeits that float around in the kingdom of the world, which is ruled by Satan. But wait! The very idea that this world is ruled by Satan is a warping of the truth. It’s not reality. Remember, Jesus came into the world to destroy the devil’s domain and to bring all of creation into his kingdom. Those in this world who accept Christ’s kingship listen to his voice and live in that truth.
When we sin, it’s because we don’t fully understand the reality of the situation. Jesus is not yet fully the king of that part of our lives.
For example, think of a person who has asked you for something that you cannot afford to give. Perhaps it’s the building project at church. Or the sick neighbor. Or the co-worker who doesn’t have the level of faith that you have. Or the aging parent who needs more and more assistance.
Do you feel like you don’t have enough to satisfy their needs? Are you so tired and downtrodden from your own burdens that you cannot take on someone else’s? Well, it’s our flesh nature that says we cannot enjoy doing more for others than we’re already doing. This is a warped view of reality; it looks like we’ll be happier if we cater to our own desires instead of taking care of someone else’s need.
In true reality, a joyful lifestyle develops when we listen to the voice of Jesus, even when he says, “go the extra mile” or “be like the Good Samaritan and take a detour to minister to others”. We have to trust the truth that he teaches, regardless of how little we understand it.
Understanding grows in the doing of God’s will more than in the thinking about it. Joy grows as we gain the understanding that comes from seeing some of the fruits of what we’ve done. When we sin, it’s because we cannot envision the good fruits that will come from doing things the way Christ tells us to. Under his kingship and the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, we gain freedom to overcome all of our sinful tendencies.
Questions for Personal Reflection:
What lies are you believing? “FEAR” is “False Evidence Appearing Real.” What is fear telling you about the ways of Christ? What teachings of the Church are you unwilling to trust? What beliefs about yourself give you low self-esteem? These are all areas where Jesus is not your king. What will you do to learn and understand the truth?
Questions for Community Faith Sharing:
Name a common misconception you’ve seen or experienced that keeps people away from Christ or away from church? Why do people believe this unreality? How can we help them feel safe in learning the truth and accepting the kingship of Christ?
Lord Jesus, strengthen my faith in the victory of Your endless Kingdom. I thank You, my God, because You called me to be part of it. Amen.
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica