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Gospel for Sunday, November 21: John 13: 33-37


33Pilate then returned to the praetorium, called Jesus and said to him: “Are you the king of the Jews?”. 34Jesus replied: “Do you say this on your own or have others told you this about me?”. 35Pilate replied: “Am I a Jew? Your people and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?”. 36Jesus answered: “My kingdom is not of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have fought so that I was not handed over to the Jews; but my kingdom is not from down here.” 37Then Pilate said to him: “So you are king?”. Jesus replied: “You say so; I am king. This is why I was born and why I came into the world: to bear witness to the truth. Whoever is of the truth, listen to my voice.”

John 13: 33-37

Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Misericordie, I am Carlo Miglietta, doctor, biblical scholar, layman, husband, father and grandfather (

Also today I share with you a short meditation thought on the Gospel, with special reference to the theme of mercy.


Lord Jesus, you are a very strange King! Your palace leaves much to be desired: you are born in a stable, your cradle is a manger, because there is no place for you in the inn (Luke 2:7) and, throughout your life, you have “not even where to lay the head” (Mt 8:20). Your court is a disaster: you surround yourself not with the nobility and the great of your time, but you are the “friend of tax collectors and sinners” (Mt 11.19; Luke 7.34), and you are not afraid of scandalising right-thinking by sitting at the table of these marginalized people (Lk 5,27-32; 7, 36-50; 15,1-2; 19,1-10). He does not frequent the healthy, but the sick (Mt 9.12). You spend your royal life not among pleasures and luxury, but among the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed, the most repugnant sick (Lk 7,18-22; Acts 10,38; Mt 4,24; 8, 2-4; 9.35; 14.35-36…). You are a strange King who suffers from thirst (Jn 4.7), tiredness (Jn 4.6), sleep (Mt 8.24). Your family members think you are crazy (Mk 3.21), your fellow citizens want to kill you (Lk 4.28-29), your trusted friends don’t understand you, they abandon you (Jn 6.66; Mt 26.56), they betray you (Mt 26,47-50); and even your prime minister disowns you three times (Mt 26.69-75). The only anointing you receive is an anointing for death (Jn 12.7), the only crown you wear is a crown of thorns (Jn 19.2), the only cloak you wear is a mocking cloak (Jn 19, 2); and when, thus consecrated and clothed in purple, you are presented as king to your subjects, they cry: “Crucify him, crucify him!” (Jn 19.6). Lord Jesus, you are a very strange King!

And then, Lord, what kind of subjects do you choose! You proclaim that your Kingdom is reserved for the poor, for those who suffer, for the meek who never raise their voices, for those who die of hunger and thirst, for those who have a miserable heart, for the simple, for those who repudiate every violence, to the persecuted throughout the earth, and you tell them that they will be blessed when they are insulted and slandered, and you exhort them to rejoice and exult in this (Mt 5.3-12; Lk 6.20-26). In your Kingdom even tax collectors and prostitutes have precedence (Mt 21,31). Lord Jesus, you are a very strange King!

In your Kingdom, then, things all go the other way around: the last are first and the first are last (Mt 19.30), you overthrow the powerful from their thrones and exalt the humble, you fill the hungry with good things and send the rich back to their hands. empty (Lk 1.52-53), to save one’s life one must lose it (Mk 8.35), whoever wants to be the greatest must become like a child (Mt 18.4), whoever wants to be first must become a servant of everyone (Mk 10,43-44). You yourself did not want to be served but to serve (Mk 10.45), you did not come to exercise dominion over others, but to give your life away for everyone (Mk 10.45). And when you sit at the table, you, the Master and Lord, perform the gesture of the slave, washing the feet of your subjects (Jn 13,1-20). Lord Jesus, you are a very strange King!

When they acclaim you Son of God, impose silence (Mk 1,34.43-44), when they want to recognize you as King after the multiplication of the loaves, flee to the mountain, all alone (Jn 6,15), when they proclaim you King at the entrance of Jerusalem, you surprise everyone by riding a donkey (Mk 11,1-11); when they arrest you you don’t want your people to fight for you, even giving up the defense of twelve legions of angels (Mt 26,51-53). You manifest yourself as King only when you are lost, chained before a pagan (Jn 18,33-37). Your throne is a Cross, on which finally stands the writing that you are the King (Jn 19,19-22): as the Psalmist had proclaimed: “The Lord reigns from the tree!” (Ps 96.10). Your kingship is revealed as pure love, shining in the wounds of your tortured body. Truly, Lord Jesus, you are a very strange King!

Happy Mercy to all!

Anyone who would like to read a more complete exegesis of the text, or some insights, please ask me at


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