Tasters from the King's Table

Pilate's Question

Pilate said to him: What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again to the Jews, and said to them: I find no guilt in him” (John 18:38).

Pilate asked the Lord: "What is truth?" But he did not wait for the answer, but immediately went out to the Jews. In front of him he had a gaunt man of no significant appearance, without any sign of greatness. This man had dared to tell him: «For this reason I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice ». Bold words, no doubt, but they failed to arouse his curiosity.

Pilate had the One who is the truth before his very eyes, but he did not recognize him. His question reveals, not the inquisitive approach of those who seek to know the hidden God, it is not a question longing for an answer, asked to someone who might be able to give that answer, but it is the sceptical question of those who no longer believe in anything, nor expect to believe in any.

There are many, like Pilate, who invest their whole life in asking for the truth, and looking for it, without finding it. Could it be that God is hiding arbitrarily from their eyes? They have made a great deal of effort, but their effort has been in vain, because they have sought after it by their own intelligence, which is, in their eyes, prodigious, and not out of their weakness.

The professional truth seeker finally loses his way, and dedicates himself, like the Epicureans and Stoics of Paul's day, to saying and hearing something new. It is the exercise of the intellect out of vanity, it is the discovery of some small truth for display.

Knowing the truth demands living it. Finding the truth requires turning to it. To have the truth is to renounce all previous truths, so jealously defended.

Only those who really want to know the truth will come to know it. Because it is not so far away that it cannot be reached, but will present itself at the most unexpected time, never to leave us abandoned.

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