HOMILY – CHRIST THE KING – [A] 2018
What would you like to ask God? That question was put to a group of under ten-year olds. They were given time to think and then asked to write down their question. Here are some of them:
- 7-year old: How many miracles have you done in your life?
- 5-year old: When can I have the wine?
- 4-year old: How do you feel when somebody falls over?
- 5 years: What do you do in the rain?
- Three nine-year olds: Why do sins happen?
- How does prayer get up to you? Do you love me?
Wonderful, thoughtful, challenging questions. They show an easy relationship with God – a personal connection, and also a deepening faith. The older ones starting to think more deeply: Why do sins happen?
Everyone has questions. We’re created to ask why and what and where and who and how. Life is lived from question to question. Mostly we ask questions of those we can trust; those who’ll take us seriously and won’t make fun of us because our questions seem simple or silly. We learn by questioning. And nearly all our questions have to do with finding our way in life: What’s my life about? What’s it for? Where’s it going?
Pilate has a question for Jesus: Are you the king of the Jews? It’s a serious, probing question from a mind filled with anxiety, uncertainty: Who is this Jesus? Why is he causing such division? Why is he not afraid? Why am I so troubled about this case? Pilate’s restlessness allows Jesus to identify himself. He takes Pilate’s question seriously and answers clearly: Yes, I am a king!
But Pilate can’t get much further. His understanding of kingship is modelled on his own culture where power is strength, not weakness. So he can only conclude that Jesus is deluded. He feels sorry for him, but he can’t help him.
What questions do you have for Jesus? Especially relating to his claim to be king. Whatever you’re asking, you’ll find answers right here in our Eucharist: the faith we share in Jesus, and his presence in our midst; his compassion and mercy, urging us to go from here to love and to serve, all point the way to a joy and fulfilment that cannot be found anywhere else. This time together is our centring point. In terms of confidence, trust and hope, we can do no better than respect the bond of our communion with one another.
You and I have the advantage over Pilate, because we know more of the story. We know the followers of Jesus were so convinced he came back to life after his crucifixion, that they overcame their fear to spread that conviction throughout the known world. They gave their own lives for that belief! All that must mean something!
The children’s questions, simple and honest, came out of their own young life experience. They really wanted to know. You and I are older. Can we be as honest as the children and only ask because we really want to know? You ask such questions only of those whose love and tenderness you trust, because your heart tells you you’ll never have any need to fear the answers.