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November 18, 1994     The Message
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__November 18, i994 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 9 L -" Commentary -- Jesus before Pilate: On trial asking Gospel commentary for No- vember20, 1994, Thirty.fourth Sunday, Ordinary Time, Cycle BJo::Tt:;fChst theKing, The final Sunday of the "Year of Grace,, the final Sunday of f: ":=di ::Te C:le2h t--he Celebration of Jesus as King. As is often the case during the year of readings from the gospel offM:lnk ' we transfer to the Gospel o John more than the other three gospels emphasiT.es the kin,ship of Jesus and tries to explain the meaning of hs kingship. The con- cept of Jesus as king is not lacking from the other gospels. Some examples would b - Uavid,,,-  . . e, the title Son of G.  ,ne plpnany in Matthew the words of ,urlel at the ' , t,,._ . . Annunclatmn, the angels messa e le Slle 11 " - g the -, P erds, the royal entry into Jerusalem, , pacara at the top of the cross proclaiming #esus "King of the Jews" is taken from the Our gospel readm toda Passion sto ...... g Y .... ,y m the Gospel of John. specifically the -hal fJesusbefore Pilate. All four'gospels agree Opening question of Pilate: "Are you the Jews?" And all four agree on Jesus' in- answer that it is Pilate who calls him by the earliest framework trial before Pilate. Mark, Matthew, and no other dialogue between Jesus and is an unlikely scenario and seems to be a saying in Isaiah 53:7, "Like a silent before its shearers, so he did B(N FATHER DILGER COLUMNIST not open his mouth." In this way our authors show that Jesus is the completi6n and realization of the Old Testament. Historical dia- logue is not their concern. On the point of a dialogue be- tween Jesus and Pilate, John is more realistic. Whether or not he reproduces exactly what was said between them we can never know, because John also has his theolog- ical needs that allow him to ab- stract from the exact way in which things happened. Between Pilate's opening question and Jesus' eva- sive answer we have in the other gospels, John inserts a discussion of the type of Jesus' kingship, our gospel for today. We can hardly doubt that Jesus was handed over to Pilate by the high priestly clique for more causes than claiming to be king. Such causes might have been the charge of blasphemy by claiming a unique relationship or even equality to God, insulting the temple by his invasion of it during the days of Passover, his free attitude to- ward Sabbath observance. Briefly, he was a trou- blemaker to the religious establishment and too popular with the people who regarded him as a prophet. All of the above causes for Jesus' arrest would hardly have brought Pilate to condemn him to death, except perhaps his popularity with the people. A first century historian, Flavius Josephus, tells us that such was the reason John the Baptist was executed by Herod Antipas. What would really catch the Roman prefect's attention would be the accusation of claiming to be a king. whether Jesus actually did make this DEWIG BRC S. 00'ACKIr00G CO. FRESH MEAT BEEF AND PORK HAUBSTADT, INDIANA Chris00gmas IN NO VEMBER l pmonol00e d S A L E Children's Stow Book ...... ........... ...........$'12.00 (with tax and thipping = $1455) ISTMAS MIRACLE: Your child relives the story of Jesus' birth as if he/she were actually there. Your child will also have his/her OWn miracle.one that will always remind him/her of Jesus' birth. PtrEIAL CHRISTMAS EVE: Your child decorates his/her Christmas ee and prepares for Santa's arrival. Santa comes and he/she gets to meet and talk to him. It was the most special day in his/her - Whole life. 'PersonalizedCallfrom Santa... ..... ., ............. ........ ..... ..$3.00 rdetq . nalized Letter From Santa... ........ ... ....... ..............$3.00 a! Package #1 -- 1 Personalized Children's Book anC. tax apd shipping) and eflher nto Call or :anfa Lite:............$16.00 $1ecial Package #2 - A Santa Call & Santa Lelter.......$4.95 IOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO PLACE AN ORDER: IPNlt )NE/FAX: 812-963-3696 RNET: bernard wren smt .ushedu "TE: .__ " @ .P aLtt Computer Serwces ' PO Box 23022 EVansville, IN 47724 Claim historically is uncertain, what is certain is that he had a vast, popular following. This alone made it credible to accuse him of wanting to be king. Some of his actions such as his entry into Jerusalem while acclaimed by the people as king would also lend credibility to such an accusation. Such evidence is contained in all four gospels. what John intends to demonstrate by the dia- logue between Jesus and Pilate is that Jesus is truly a king, but not a political king from whom Rome had anything to fear. In the first chapter of John, Jesus is acclaimed king by one of his disciples, when Nathanael enthusiastically states: "You are the King of Israel." Even this case may have a non-polit- ical meaning for John since Israel was the People of God long before they had an earthly kingdom. God was their king. This may be one of John's claims of divinity for Jesus. In chapter six the people attempt to make Jesus king and he flees into the mountains a way in which John shows the unpolitical reality of Jesus' kingship. In chapter twelve, when Jesus is acclaimed as "King of Israel" by the people, Jesus seizes a donkey and rides into the city. For John this recalls a passage from the prophet Zechariah where a king of Israel riding on a donkey brings peace to all nations but without "chariot, warhorse, and bat- tle bow." A lesson for us in all of this background mater- ial may be that a church that has a long history of emphasizing monarchy and the imperial sytle that goes with it would do well to recall the gentle, non- condemnatory, non-violent, peaceful, humble, unpre- tentious kingdom envisioned by Jesus in the Gospel of John. Readings: Daniel 7:13.14; Revelation l:5-m Please Support Message Advertisers HAVE YOU HEARD HIM CALL? DOMINICAN SISTERS OF HA WTHORNE Providing free care and shelter to incurable cancer patients. We seek voraen who are full of love for Christ, and desire to join a congregation itb a strong spiritual and community life. Our Sitters ae front MI alks of lift. Prior nursing experience not required. Contact: Sr.Marie Edward * Rosary Hill Home 600 Linda Ave., Hawthorne, NY 10$32 (914) 769-4794