Sunday, September 16, 2018
Then the high priest questioned Jesus about His disciples and about His teaching. Jesus answered, “I have spoken openly to the world; I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all the Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret. Why do you ask me? Ask those who heard what I said to them; they know what I said.” When Jesus had said this, one of the police standing nearby struck Jesus on the face, saying, “Is that how you answer the high priest?” Jesus answered, “If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me?” – John 18:19-23
The High Priest with his own police force, probably soldiers assigned to the High Priest. They served as the heavy handed henchmen of a heavy-hearted system. The position of the High Priest had become a position in which political power and religious power had become alloyed. This always happens when the religious leaders seek to control for they will eventually do anything to keep control.
Religious communities that may have been born as persecuted minorities so often become compromised when they gain control of the political forces. They begin with subtle yet coercive group pressure to control the thinking of the followers. It is a form of mind control by way of the spirit and repetitive declarations. And when it manages to gain control of political powers in order “to change the world”, they continue their crusade to control the people. In the past, even Christianity has fallen into the role of the High Priest, gaining power and then doing all it could to maintain power even by means of distorting the truth and the crucifixion of what they perceive to be the troubling, threatening dissent.
I do not believe that Christ meant to control the world by obtaining worldly power, the story of the temptations of Christ I believe reveal this. Rather I believe that Christ wanted to transform the world by practicing heavenly power, the power of grace and mercy, inspiration and example, His words and His Spirit.
The writer of the Gospel of John wanted us to know that one of the High Priest’s guards struck Jesus and said, “Is that how you answer the High Priest?” And John certainly included it for reason.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz