The role of Pilate was to keep the Pax Romanum translated to the Peace of Rome. As Rome continued to expand its boundaries and its might throughout the globe, Romans proved that men become gods as they built magnificent architecture and sculpted their roman deities into their elaborate temples. Romans proved that men become gods as their philosophy, discourse, and drama became the well spring of thought during its time. The Romans proved that men become gods as the world fell to its knees upon the magnitude and might of the Empire. This was the Pax Romanum and anyone who disturbed it was any enemy of Rome. The Romans focused on how men become gods by demonstrating their might to the world. Perhaps they missed the point that God has become man in the person who is now on trial before Pilate.
Jesus’ kingdom is far from the Roman Empire, political discourse, and the raising of armies because his kingdom is greater than these. The Kingdom is the mustard seed and hidden treasure we all long for in the depths of our being. We will hear in the Eucharistic Prayers that Jesus’ kingdom is “a kingdom of truth and life, a kingdom of holiness and grace, a kingdom of justice, love, and peace.”
The Kingdom of God is not a place. It is the embodiment of God’s love that makes us fully alive! The Kingdom of God brings about the deepest meaning of human existence.
Those in the kingdom open the eyes of the blind, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, welcomes the stranger. We, as baptized citizens, were made for more. We were made for this kingdom in which no ailments will fill our bodies, in which we will be crowned with everlasting life, full knowledge of love, absolute sight of the invisible reality, grace filled communion with Mary, the angels, and saints, around God’s throne.
This kingdom exists for the King, who knows us. This king knows the number of hairs on our head, he knows everything about our past, a past that is broken, frail, and fragmented. He knows what we wish to be and holds it in light of what he wants us to be. Knowing all of this, he stands before Pilate, unafraid, loving us personally, offering his life for us, to win our citizenship for his kingdom.
Today, is the end of the Liturgical Year, pointing us to the eternal reality, that no matter what, the truth of Christ’s Lordship as the beginning and end of all things will be revealed.
At that moment only two things are probable. At his Last Judgement, he will either welcome us as heirs to his kingdom for we spent this life caring for the poor, the broken hearted, the single parent, the widow, and the neglected. Or the King will make his enemies his footstool because his enemies worshipped Militant Generals and False Ideals rather than him.
As we wait for that day with joyful expectation, we look to the central image in this house: the crucifix. The cross is his throne. God is fully exposed. We are not saved by how much he suffered in that horrendous death, we are saved by how much he loved us in his suffering. We are saved by his love-filled decision to stay there until the end, staring death face to face, to save us for eternal life. How can we resist an irresistible God, a king such as this?
We trace the throne, the cross, on our bodies throughout the day because it reminds us that he lives in us. The Sign of the Cross reminds us that we are never far from God’s reach.
We approach the altar of the Lord to receive the King into our hearts in the presence of mere wheat that is crushed and grapes that become divine. Here we pray, “Thy kingdom come”..
In other words we say to the God who has become man: Jesus, make us yours, live in us, gather together a scattered and suffering humanity, so that in you all may be subjected to the Father of mercy and love.