A Homily – The Gospel of John 18: 33 – 37

The Gospel of the Day – 2015.11.22 (Sunday)

 Christ the King?

 ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ Pilate asked. Jesus replied, ‘Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others spoken to you about me?’ Pilate answered, ‘Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?’ Jesus replied, ‘Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. But my kingdom is not of this kind.’ ‘So you are a king then?’ said Pilate. ‘It is you who say it’ answered Jesus. ‘Yes, I am a king. 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.’ (NJB)

 

The Trouble with Analogies

It is an unfortunate moment in the development of our faith; that the gospel writers felt compelled to use the narrative, of Jesus’ arrest, to give Jesus any claim to kingship at all.

He did not seek kingship, kingdoms are human constructions. It is not a different type of kingdom that Jesus wanted to inaugurate, but a world without kings.

The analogy we ought to look for, in order to understand the Way, has nothing to do with royalty and power, with thrones and dominion, but with life; growing things, caring for things, loving things. The Way of Jesus is like living in a garden.

That language of God as king, has dogged us down through the centuries, and it thwarted the mission of Jesus just as soon as it was first put into use. It gave rise to empires, to principalities, and to the quasi caliphates that even today use the sacred traditions to prop up their greed, their vanity, and their callous disregard for humanity.

All Christians bear some responsibility for this. God, the creator of the universe is not a king, Jesus is not a price. They are gardeners.

The 34th Sunday of Ordinary Time

The feast of Saint Cecilia, Mother of Music

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