WITNESSES OF THE TRUTH
The trial takes place in the palace where the Roman prefect lives when he comes to Jerusalem. The day has just dawned. Pilate occupies the seat from which he dictates his judgements. Jesus appears bound, like a delinquent. There they are, face to face, the representative of the most powerful empire and the prophet of God’s reign.
To Pilate it ends up unbelievable that such a man intends to challenge Rome: «So, then you are a king?». Jesus is very clear: «My kingdom does not belong here». He belongs to no unjust system of this world. He doesn’t pretend to occupy any throne. He seeks no power or wealth.
But he doesn’t hide the truth: «I am a king». He has come to this world to introduce truth. If his kingdom were of this world he would have had «guards» who would have fought for him with weapons. But his followers aren’t «legionaries» but «disciples» who listen to his message and dedicate themselves to put truth, justice and love in the world.
Jesus reign isn’t that of Pilate. The prefect lives in order to extract wealth from the people and send it to Rome. Jesus lives «to be witness of the truth». His life is completely a challenge: «All who are on the side of truth listen to my voice». Pilate isn’t of the truth. He doesn’t listen to Jesus’ voice. Within a few hours he will try to extinguish it forever.
The follower of Jesus isn’t «guard» of the truth, but «witness». Our business isn’t to dispute, combat and overthrow our adversaries, but to live the truth of the Gospel and communicate the experience of Jesus that is changing our life.
Nor is the Christian «owner» of the truth, but witness. He doesn’t impose his doctrine, doesn’t control the faith of others, doesn’t pretend to be right in everything. He goes about being converted to Jesus, spreads the attraction he feels for him, helps to look toward the Gospel, puts the truth of Jesus everywhere. The Church will attract people when they see that our face looks like Jesus’, and that our life makes remembrance of his.
José Antonio Pagola
Translator: Fr. Jay VonHandorf