Can you imagine Pilate, standing before our Lord, listening as those words were spoken from Christ’s mouth? Pilate had to have been a little confused. You know that old joke, the one that goes, “you talking to me?” I am sure this is exactly what Pilate was thinking. Be he probably wasn’t joking. ‘Does this man know who he is talking too?’ Yes, He did. Christ knew just who it was he was speaking to. And He spoke those words anyway, without fear.
To me, this is the ultimate example of not backing down, of making a firm decision for truth and then acting on it. How many times in our own lives do we back down from our faith? I am not just speaking of those times every one once in a while. I am speaking of those times, daily, that we decide the ‘world’ is our Kingdom. Christ could not have been any more clear in those words He spoke standing in front of Pilate. Jesus Christ is not only defining Himself, clearing up any confusion as to who He is, He also presenting each and every one of us with a decision: a decision that asks which Kingdom we serve.
I don’t know about you, but thinking back at the end of a long day, I am able to think of a few times I was presented with the choice as to which Kingdom I belong to: Christ’s kingdom or the world’s. I think this really goes for most of us. Many times a day, we are presented with the ability to define who we are. Do we belong completely to God, or completely to the world. Half the battle is recognizing the opportunity: taken or missed!
However, in order for us to even make this decision, to define who we are and who it is we belong to, we first have to be able to recognize those opportunities. I mean, let’s be honest, most of us do not have intense encounters like the one Pontius Pilate had with Jesus. For most of us, we go about our daily routine whether in the office or at home, using the gifts and talents our God has given us. Some days move faster than others. Nonetheless, we are always presented with a little reflection time at the end of the day. And within that reflection time, we may find that this quick or slow day we just had was really filled with opportunities to proclaim, like Christ, to which “world” we belong. Oh sure, some opportunities are bigger than others, but nonetheless, they are there.
Christ’s Kingdom is ‘not of this world’. Neither is ours. We have been created in the image and likeness of our God. Our God wants nothing more than our defining “yes” to His Kingdom. Take, for instance, the example of Blessed Miguel Pro, a Catholic priest who literally gave his life for his faith. Fr. Pro was a priest who made the ultimate sacrifice, risking his life each day to bring the sacraments to those in need for which he was ultimately be put to death. Yet we know his physical death was not the end for Blessed Pro. It was only the beginning of his new life now shared with our God. His last words ring in the hearts of all those who aspire to live out their faith, “Viva Cristo Rey!”- “Long live Christ the King!”
Each day, we are presented with many opportunities to live for and in Jesus Christ. Through these opportunities, we are called to share in that same “yes” of Blessed Pro and all the Christian faithful, proclaiming with all that we have that Christ is our King! Oh sure, we will fall short. But it is within our falling that we are then able to re-define ourselves in a greater and deeper love of He who created us to love him.
I really don’t know about you, but these words serve for me as the biggest reminder of what is to come in my own life. Christ, being handed over to die on a tree, is face to face with the ultimate opportunity to proclaim who He is. With that opportunity, our Lord reminds each of us that the world in which we live ‘is not the end’. What waits for us after a long and hope-filled life is greater than we could ever possibly imagine. Until then, let’s live today for Christ our King.
Jon Leonetti is a Catholic radio host and speaker, providing keynote presentations and parish missions in churches, schools and conferences across the country. You can find more information on Jon at his website: www.jdleonetti.com