In Pilate’s mind he is seeking the truth. Some of his subjects hand over a man who they say is claiming kingship, which is not something that the Romans like to hear in one of their conquered provinces, and Pilate is trying to figure out what the truth of the matter is. “Are you the king of the Jews? What have you done? Then you are a king?” And the question we might wonder as believers hearing all this from a distance is: how in the world does Pilate not come to conversion? Pilate is seeking the truth and the one he is seeking it from is the King of the Universe, Christ who is truth incarnate, Christ who has encountered many people in his ministry and opened their eyes. Tax collectors and sinners left behind their whole way of life after meeting him, crippled and broken people walked away from him healed and telling everyone they could, even simple fisherman left their boats after just one encounter with him. And somehow… somehow… despite seeking truth Pilate walks away from this encounter unconvinced and uncertain of what to make of this Jesus person.
Well… the ultimate answer is that Pilate was seeking the truth but he didn’t belong to the truth. Jesus says that “everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice” and Pilate does not listen to the voice of Christ. He hears, but he doesn’t listen. He approaches Jesus with his own limited agenda, his own framing of the situation, his own assumption about having absolute power as a Roman official. Listening requires a passivity. Listening requires that you set aside your pride and your own notions to enter into the mind of the other person. Pilate was willing to hear Jesus and to judge what he said, but he was not willing to listen to Jesus and to be obedient to the truth.
Unlike Pilate, you and I are supposed to belong to the truth by listening to the voice of Christ. Christ is the King of the Universe. He is the Word that brought into existence all that is. The treasure and beauty of Christianity is that this Divine Creator does not remain distant from us his creation. Although we are nothing compared to Him, He has chosen to speak to us the Word of His Son in the language of our humanity. We should listen. We should make the time to do nothing but listen to the presence of the King.
[4:30pm Saturday @Ambrose with anointing and baptism, 5:00pm Sunday @Ambrose with anointing: And that’s what I invite you to do in the sacrament(s) we are about to celebrate: listen. Set aside what you know about them and listen to the words that are spoken. Listen to what God is doing in the lives of our brothers and sisters.]
[8:30am Sunday @Lodi: And I hope as we enter into the season of Advent next week that you do focus yourself on being receptive and passive and truly listening to the what God has to tell us about the love that He has… a love that gave us the savior of the world.]
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Homilies are meant to be heard, not read… and part of the Eucharistic liturgy, not words that stand alone. Please remember that no homily is written with this blog in mind.