Gospel: John 18:33b-37
Pilate said to Jesus,
“Are you the King of the Jews?”
Jesus answered, “Do you say this on your own
or have others told you about me?”
Pilate answered, “I am not a Jew, am I?
Your own nation and the chief priests handed you over to me.
What have you done?”
Jesus answered, “My kingdom does not belong to this world.
If my kingdom did belong to this world,
my attendants would be fighting
to keep me from being handed over to the Jews.
But as it is, my kingdom is not here.”
So Pilate said to him, “Then you are a king?”
Jesus answered, “You say I am a king.
For this I was born and for this I came into the world,
to testify to the truth.
Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
“Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.”
The Church holds an annual Global Celebration of Youth People (also known as World Youth Day) during the Solemnity of Christ the King. This year, the theme is Stand up. I appoint you as a witness of what you have seen (cf. Acts 26:16). In today’s Gospel, Pilate asked Jesus if He was King. While the Roman governor would think of an earthly king who commands armies, oppresses the weak, and has enormous wealth, our Lord presents Himself as king of a heavenly kingdom, a kingdom that stands and fights for the truth. That is why He said, My kingdom does not belong to this world. Today’s Gospel as well as World Youth Day’s theme have something in common: both call the young people to be a witness of Jesus, the King who came not to be served, but to serve. In his message to celebrate this occasion, Pope Francis made this appeal to the youth:
“In Jesus’ name, I ask you: Arise! Testify that you too were blind and encountered the light. You too have seen God’s goodness and beauty in yourself, in others, and in the communion of the Church, where all loneliness is overcome.
“Arise! Testify to the love and respect it is possible to instill in human relationships, in the lives of our families, in the dialogue between parents and children, between the young and the elderly.
“Arise! Uphold social justice, truth, and integrity, human rights. Protect the persecuted, the poor and the vulnerable, those who have no voice in society, immigrants.
“Arise! Testify to the new way of looking at things that enables you to view creation with eyes brimming with wonder, that makes you see the Earth as our common home, and gives you the courage to promote an integral ecology.
“Arise! Testify that lives of failure can be rebuilt, that persons spiritually dead can rise anew, that those in bondage can once more be free, that hearts overwhelmed by sorrow can rediscover hope.
“Arise! Testify joyfully that Christ is alive! Spread his message of love and salvation among your contemporaries, at school and in the university, at work, in the digital world, everywhere.”
- How can you be a witness to Jesus today?
- How can you inspire young people to stand up for Jesus?
- How does the youth inspire you to listen attentively to Jesus?
Lord Jesus, thank You for Your Word today. We entrust to You all young people all over the world. Transform their hearts that they may stand up and be counted among Your witnesses in the world that longs to be freed by the truth that comes from You. Amen.