"What is truth?" -- Pontius Pilate, John 18:38
"The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." -- Albert Einstein
ABOUT TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO, when Jesus was brought to the praetorium to be interrogated, Roman governer Pontius Pilate asked him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" 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."
It is then that Pilate uttered three infamous words, "What is Truth?" Shortly after, he gave in to the demands of a mob and sentenced Jesus to an excruciating death on the cross.
UPON MY RETURN TO A FRANCISCAN SYMPOSIUM recently, a friend told me that some people have been calling me in jest "The Alpha and the Omega", all because i had chosen to attend only the first and the last days of the five-day event. What an honor! :-p ;-)
From the first day, Friar B. threw a spanner into the works by informing us point-blank that Bonaventure's Major Life of St Francis and the Spirituals' Little Flowers (both important references for religious and secular Franciscans) have a rather controversial, political and even bloody history. He proceeded to explain why through a number of 'spicy' stories.
By the last day, the stage had been set: One can no longer refer to any authorized text and assume that whatever's written there is gospel truth. There's a need for triangulation (to check multiple sources), and so on. Only then can we roughly say that we are somewhere near the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
And a startling piece of insight into St Francis' Perfect Joy story towards the end of the symposum: Friar B. said he and a number of Franciscan scholars believed that St Francis was referring to an acute sense of rejection in the later part of his life -- many new Franciscans then were highly educated and more articulate than the humble saint; and many in the order had come to regard the founder as a source of embarrassment!
If this were true, did anyone try to stand up for St Francis (such as chastise those snobbish Franciscans)? When those jealous chief priests and scribes made all those false accusations about Jesus and when the mob clamoured for Jesus' death, did anyone try to stop this gross act of injustice (such as speak up for Jesus)? Would God have wanted us to do so?
How does one recognize Truth? How does one discern that an issue at hand is trivial and so, try to be humble and give way? And how does one discern that an issue at hand is critical and cannot be compromised and so, try to stand firm and actively promote divine justice?
(See also What Is Truth? and Why is Good Friday 'good'... II.)
According to Mel Gibson's The Passion of The Christ, when those jealous chief priests and scribes made all those false accusations about Jesus and when the mob clamoured for Jesus' death, two people stood up and tried to stop this gross act of injustice. They were apparently Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea. Good for them!
Was Mel Gibson trying to say something with this scene?