20 November 2015

'My kingdom is not from this world.' Sunday Reflections. Christ the King, Year B

From The Gospel of John (2003) Directed by Philip Saville. Jesus played by Henry Ian Cusick; narrator, Christopher Plummer. [John 18:33-37, today's Gospel]

Readings (New American Bible: Philippines, USA)

Readings (Jerusalem Bible: Australia, England & Wales, India [optional], Ireland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Scotland, South Africa)

Pilate said to Jesus: “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you ask this on your own, or did others tell you about me?” Pilate replied, “I am not a Jew, am I? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not from this world. If my kingdom were from this world, my followers would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not from here.” Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that 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.”

Christ Before Pilate, Tintoretto, 1566-67
Scuola Grande di San Rocco, Venice [Web Gallery of Art]

Last Saturday Pope Francis referred to the attacks in Paris the night before as  'piece' of the 'Piecemeal Third World War'. In recent weeks hundreds have died because of attacks by terrorists, in Egypt, when a plane carrying mostly Russian holidaymakers returning home exploded and crashed in the Sinai Peninsula, in Beirut where more than 40 were killed by suicide bombers, 129 murdered in Paris and since then more than 40 in attacks in Nigeria, in one instance a suicide bomber reported to be a girl aged 11.

Last April 148 persons, most of the students, were murdered in an attack on Garissa University College in Kenya. Two years ago 67 people, from 13 different countries and from every continent, were killed in an attack by terrorists on a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya.

None of these incidents, all with an international dimension, reflect the values of the Kingdom of Christ the King.

But it is essential that we recognize that Kingdom where it is a reality. And it is a reality, though 'not from this world' but present in this world.

While editing an article by a Columban seminarian from the Philippines, Erl Dylan J. Tabaco, who is on his two-year First Mission Assignment in Peru as part of his preparation for the priesthood, I came across evidence of the reality of the Kingdom of Christ being a reality in our world, specifically in this instance in Lima.

A profoundly deaf young boy in Lima learning to speak in Manuel Duato School

Manuel Duato School was started by Columban Missionary priests more than 30 years ago to respond to the needs of the many young people among the poor of Lima with learning and other disabilities.

‘Team Duato: Two Schools, One Family’
Students in St Christopher's School, Melbourne

The school is now twinned with St Christopher's Primary School in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, Australia.

[Thanks to Renae Gentile and Elizabeth Moran of St Christopher's Primary School for this video]

The Kingdom of Terrorism, the Kingdom of Satan, is international. The Kingdom of Christ is Universal. The children and teachers in Manuel Duato in Lima, Peru, and those in St Christopher's, Airport West, Victoria, not far from the Columban central house in Australia, are building the Kingdom of Christ and at the same time growing in the values of that Kingdom.

Jesus tells us, Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs (Mark 10: 14). May we learn from the children of Manuel Duato and the children of St Christopher's where the Kingdom of God is present among us, that Manuel Duato es Amor, 'Manuel Duato is love'. Our broken world needs the hope and healing that Christ the King gives through such as 'Team Duato: Two Schools, One Family.’


This is a very special weekend for all Columban missionaries. Here in the Philippines the Reverend Kurt Zion Valdemoza Pala will be ordained to the priesthood. Among those present will be Fr Michael Cuddigan, a Columban now based in Hong Kong but who spent many years in the Philippines, who officiated at the wedding of Father Kurt's parents. And Father Michael himself is a link with the beginning of the Columban mission in the Philippines as his uncle, also Fr Michael Cuddigan, was the very first Columban to arrive in Manila in 1929 when the Columbans took over Our Lady of Remedies Parish, Malate, Manila, where we still work. Father Kurt has spent time there as a deacon and will spend some time there as a priest before leaving for his mission in Myanmar in 2016. He has already spent two years in Fiji as a seminarian on First Mission Assignment.

Monday 23 November is the Feast of St Columban and also the 1,400th Anniversary of his death in Bobbio, northern Italy. The stamp above was issued by An Post in Ireland to mark the occasion. Australian Columban Fr Ray Scanlon reflects on a pilgrimage in the footsteps of our patron in St Columban, My Brother. Please keep all Columban missionaries in your prayers. Thank you.

Tomb of St Columban, Bobbio

Christi simus, non nostri – Go mba le Críost sinn agus nach linn féin – Let us be of Christ, not of ourselves (St Columban)

Responsorial Psalm [Philippines, USA]

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