Image from Wikimedia Commons
I have long admired the Jesuit priest, Fr. John Kavanaugh who died earlier this month. Here's something he said in a reflection about yesterday's observance:
In answering Pilate, Jesus says that his kingdom is not of this world. It is a kingdom not fought for with old means of warfare. Rather, it testifies to truth. It will not kill for the truth, it will die for it. If Jesus is king, he will be a suffering king. He will not demand ransom. He will be ransom. He will win, not by spilling the blood of others, but by offering up his own.
Over the centuries Christians have had trouble with this new kind of king, so much have we hungered for the earthly assurances of conquest and control. But it is equally true that the centuries have seen men and women who recognized in Jesus a kingliness that summoned nothing less than the loyalty of a free human heart. Something was unlocked in them when they discovered a "lord of life" whose ambition was not to dominate humanity but to save and serve it.
Those words, "the loyalty of a free human heart", are very powerful. If this is what Christ wants from us, how can we possibly justify the oppression of others or even stand by passively when we see that oppression?