In the context of current events, this feast has special meaning for us, because in spite of all the signs of hatred, violence and war around us, we are encouraged to continue working for the definitive Kingdom of love won for us through the passion and death of our Lord.
The book of Daniel symbolically presents different periods of history in order to show that the empires of this world rise and fall but God’s Kingdom will not be destroyed. The “Son of Man” image reminds us that the Lord has shown us that the path to that Kingdom is found in our redeemed humanity. In Jesus, we are called to be truly human. In order to live out this calling we must not allow the inhumane actions of others to sidetrack us from our focus and goal of being witnesses to life and love.
The Gospel of John contrasts the false Kingdom of the Romans with the true Kingdom of God. Pilate will use his “power”, that of the army, to inflict great torture and death on Jesus, an innocent man. However, Pilate does not finally win, nor is the Kingdom he served still standing. Jesus died, yes, but then is raised from the dead and his Kingdom continues in each person who follows him by giving witness to his sacrificial love.
The Kingdom of God has its origin in God and especially in Jesus, God made man. Humanity’s separation from God, the rejection of his creative love, gave birth to sin, hatred, and death. But God’s love for us never was taken back and God has always acted to bring us back. God’s uncompromising love for us is shown in Jesus in so many ways but in today’s Gospel is especially shown in his passion and death, when he responds to the power of this world with the power of God’s love. In the face of the insecurity and inhumanity of violence and war that surrounds us, we are called to listen to his voice and find responses that reflect our firm belief in his love and the creative power he gives us to build-up a new humanity, in other words, to be instruments of the Kingdom of God.