Fr. Steve’s homily (11/22/2015)

Jesus affirms that he is a king, but he also affirms that his kingdom does not “belong to this world.” This was important for him to mention, because Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor who was interrogating, was worried that Jesus was trying to organize some kind of political rebellion against the Roman Empire. And Jesus explains that he was not.

But if Jesus is not a political king, what kind of king is he? If his kingdom is “not of this world,” what kind of kingdom is it?

Jesus came to save us, by bringing the light of truth back into our darkened, confused world. And what is that truth, the truth that will set us free from sin? That God is love. That’s the truth.
Let us ask as Pilate did: what is truth? First, truth can refer to facts, to the way things are.
• Jesus on the cross bears witness to the fact that God is not primarily power, anger, or even justice.
• These are conceptions of God espoused by other religions.
• But Jesus showed, by his unstoppable mercy and his total self-sacrifice, that God’s primary identity is love, self-giving, goodness.

Second, truth can refer to morality, to the right way of behaving. In this sense, Jesus on the cross bore witness to the real standard of our moral choices – not personal comfort, self-indulgence, or individual opinion, but following God’s will. As St Paul explained, Jesus was glorified because he was “obedient unto death, death on a cross” (Phil 2:8).

Obedience to God’s will, to his commandments, is the source of our spiritual health and fruitfulness; it is how we enter into a loving relationship with him. Disobeying God’s commands is self-destructive, as if a tree were to uproot itself from the soil in order to be “more free.” Certainly it would be free from the soil, but it would no longer be free to grow and flourish.

Third, truth refers to dependability, trustworthiness. When we say a friend is true, we mean we can count on them. Jesus on the cross proves without any doubt that God is trustworthy. God is so faithful that he didn’t abandon or give up on us even when we refused to believe in him and actively tried to destroy him.

God is love – it’s a fact, a moral standard, and an invitation to trust.

That’s the truth that will set us free from sin and lead us into the eternal Kingdom, if we accept it.

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