Thirty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our Lord Jesus Christ the King
The trial to Jesus continues
So Pilate went back into the praetorium and summoned Jesus and said to him, “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.” Jn 18,33b-37
Since he came on the earth, Jesus of Nazareth has always been on trial: Herod tried to suppress him while he was still a baby; the scribes and the pharisees tried to eliminate him during his public life, joining their forces to this purpose even with the Romans who, as the conquerors, were heavily hated by everyone in the Palestine. In the today passage, the trial to Jesus reaches its official form in the person of Pilate, who represents both the Jews and the Romans: the world of the Palestine in his time. Jesus was condemned, he died on the cross, but no one has found his body because he resurrected. And the process continues. In the history, the trial to Jesus became the trial to the Church and to the Gospel values, but always indirectly accusing him, Jesus Christ. And in front of him there was always a Pilate, who in the recent centuries has been particularly aggressive. In the eighteenth century Pilate dressed the clothes of the Enlightenment, which, by exalting the intelligence and the reason, implicitly put on trial the values of the Gospel and of the Spirit, brought by Jesus Christ. Then, after the French Revolution and the despotism of Napoleon, the ideals of the intelligence and of the reason have been replaced by those sentimental ones of the Romanticism, with some appreciation of the christian values. Later, in the nineteenth century, the romantic culture was supplanted by the economic and social Industrial Revolution which, supported by the philosophical Positivism, has revived the case against the values of the Gospel. Then Pilate took flesh in the communist philosophy and subsequently in that of the indifference, of the nihilism, of the materialism and of the utilitarianism. Every philosophy, or ideology, which in history has brought different values than the christian ones, had to clash with the Church, always reactivating the trial of Pilate to Jesus. In the today’s world Pilate seems to embody the current secular culture, but in this climate of globalization, other cultures and other religions which in the past lived in local realities are participating to the trial to Jesus: the muslim religion, the hindu, the buddhist religion. And the trial to Jesus, to the Church and to the Gospel values continues.