Lectio Divina on JOHN 18:28-38
Today marks the day of the New Hampshire primary in the United States. Once again, as they do every year, those who occupy the halls of power and piety are loud and vociferous in their condemnation of the opposition. Both Republicans and Democrats toss Christ back and forth, pretending that frequent invocation of his name will secure heaven’s endorsement.
This charade is no different from the manipulations of Pilate and the priests on Good Friday. They were the first to use Jesus as a pawn for their own agenda. These masters of power and piety live by the old adage, “Might makes right.” They believe the victory of goodness and truth depends on their ability to obtain and maintain dominance.
Jesus is a threat to all of their agendas. He is not beholden to the religious or political powers that be. Therefore, he must be silenced. The space he occupies is incomprehensible to them. He says, “You say that I am a king.” He refuses to accept the labels they try to heap upon him. Like Dorothy Day, Jesus says, “Don’t call me a saint; I don’t want to be dismissed so easily.”
His very existence is an indictment of all their pretensions to power and piety. Jesus reveals the truth that there is a divine plan unfolding that is indifferent to their agendas. Nothing they say or do can change a thing.
Jesus may appear powerless in the face of such manipulation, but the reality is quite the opposite. Jesus (and the truth to which he testifies) is so powerful, he can afford to remain unshaken and unimpressed. All the violence and death they can dole out is insufficient to halt the cause of truth. Easter Sunday stands as an abiding witness to that.
Jesus Christ endorses no candidate and refuses to accept the labels heaped upon him by the world. He does not ask his followers to fight on his behalf; he asks us only to listen.
Let us listen then, with the ears of our hearts wide open, for the voice of truth that whispers softly beneath the shouting powers of this world.
And perhaps we can hum this tune under our breath as the election season continues: