The judgment against Jesus probably took place in the palace where Pilate resided when he came to Jerusalem. On a morning in April in the year 30, there met together a defenseless prisoner named Jesus and the representative of the powerful imperial system of Rome.
The Gospel of John relates the dialogue of these two. In reality, more than a questioning, it seems to be a discourse of Jesus in order to clarify some topics that the evangelist was very interested in. At one point Jesus makes a solemn proclamation: «I was born for this, I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice».
This affirmation brings forth a basic feature that defines Jesus’ prophetic trajectory: his willingness to live in God’s truth. Jesus doesn’t just speak the truth, but he seeks the truth, and only the truth of a God who wants a more human world for all God’s children.
That’s why Jesus speaks with authority, but without false authoritarianisms. He speaks sincerely, but not dogmatically. He doesn’t talk like the fanatics who try to impose their truth. Nor like those functionaries who defend it by obligation, even though they don’t believe in it. He never feels himself a keeper of the truth, but a witness.
Jesus doesn’t convert God’s truth into propaganda. He doesn’t utilize it for his own benefit, but in defense of the poor. He doesn’t tolerate lies or cover-ups of injustice. He doesn’t put up with manipulation. Jesus thus becomes «a voice of those without voice, and a voice against those who have too much voice». (Jon Sobrino)
This voice is more necessary than ever in this society entrapped in a grave economic crisis. The hiding of the truth is one of the strongest presuppositions of the way the financial powers act and of the political gestation subject to their demands. They want us to go through the crisis in the midst of lies.
They do everything possible to conceal the responsibility of the main perpetrators of the crisis and to perversely ignore the suffering of the weakest and most defenseless victims. It’s urgent to humanize the crisis, placing in the center of our attention the truth of those who suffer and prioritizing our attention toward their ever more serious situation.
This is the first truth required of all if we don’t want to be inhuman. It’s the first fact above all others. We can’t get used to the social exclusion and the hopelessness into which the weakest are falling. Whoever follows Jesus must listen to his voice and instinctively go out in defense of the least. Whoever is on the side of truth listens to his voice.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf