Pilate was very close to find truth. Truth was standing in front of him, it was Jesus Christ. Pilate was not a believer but deep down he knew that Jesus was innocent. Pilate didn’t sing Glory to God in the highest or recite the Creed but he exhibited sensitivity to truth. Pilate was like those two people from our First Reading from the Book of Numbers. They spoke God’s message though they were away from the rest of the community. Pilate spoke up for the falsely accused Jesus. Pilate was like the person from today’s Gospel. The person who drove out devils though he was not among the Apostles. That person did what God wanted to be done. Pilate also took some actions to do the right thing, to free Jesus. However it all fell through when he faced possibility of losing his position, his income, his future etc. Was it because truth changed? No, it was because Pilate adjusted his standing.
My Dear Sisters and Brothers! The Pilate’s question: ‘What is truth?’ can end up in endless discussions and arguments. However, as Christians, we don’t contribute to these discussions some extra theories and ideas. What we contribute to our society’s discussion on truth is our contemplation of Jesus Christ whose another name is truth. That’s what he said to Thomas: ‘I am the truth.’ For us truth is Jesus Christ.
If anyone of us were called to testify at court we would be called to say first: ‘I do solemnly, sincerely and truly declare and affirm that the evidence I shall give to the court in this case shall be the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.’
These words apply to civil court but we should take them to heart, and even if we are not called to testify at court, we should testify to the people we meet that Jesus is the truth. We should testify that those who adhere to Jesus are given by him the grace to remain faithful to the truth. In the long tradition of our Church we have developed appreciation for what is called ‘the archives of truth written in letters of blood.’ What are these archives about? They are stories of our martyrs who died for Jesus. They didn’t die because they were stubborn or disappointed at life. They died because unlike Pilate they didn’t want to compromise the truth. St Ignatius of Antioch who was martyred in the second century wrote: ‘Neither the pleasures of the world nor the kingdoms of this age be of any use to me. It is better for me to die in order to unite myself to Christ Jesus that to reign over the ends of the earth. I seek him who died for us; I desire him who rose for us. My birth is approaching.’
In our modern society, more than ever, we need to treasure ‘the archives of truth written in letters of blood.’ We need to treasure the stories of our great martyrs so that we don’t manipulate truth and don’t allow others to manipulate us.