As Jesus drew near Jerusalem,
he saw the city and wept over it, saying,
“If this day you only knew what makes for peace. . . (Lk.19:41)
We KNOW what makes for peace—Union with Jesus the Christ, Jesus is not about dogma and doctrinal statements. Jesus is about right relationships—JUSTICE. The judgment scene in Matthew 25, as Shane Claiborne reminds us, is not about doctrine. It is not about whether you believe in the Immaculate Conception. It is about feeding the hungry and clothing the naked among other things. This is what makes for peace. Our peace comes from union with Jesus in the power of the Spirit. Our peace comes from doing what Jesus did—responding to human needs and human misery with compassion. Peace is not about infallibility. It is about living in union with Jesus in the uncertainty of the dark and dank circumstances of daily life. Peace is shalom—health, wholeness, well-being.
Peace comes when we are the church we wish to become. Rosemary Ruether has a new book—Catholic Does Not Equal the Vatican. Church is not about feudal, patriarchal hierarchy. The Church is the people of God. Peace comes from communio. We, the people of God imbued with the spirit of the Risen Jesus, know what makes for peace.
Peace comes when we live the Good News of Jesus the Christ. What is the Good News? It is setting captives free, liberating the imprisoned, giving sight to the blind and proclaiming a Year of Jubilee (Debt relief—socialism at its best!) If we took Sabbath and Jubilee seriously peace would ensue. Sabbath is about being not doing. It is about resting and letting creation rest.
The resources of creation are here to be shared, not hoarded by the rich, the powerful and the few. Jubilee is about the equitable distribution and, if necessary, re-distribution of the gifts of creation. Francis of Assisi understood the connection between consumerism and military might. “If we had possessions, we would have to have weapons to defend them.
Jesus continues to weep because we know not what makes for peace. The Good News turns our personal and national priorities upside down. It is about being, not doing. It is about receiving each day our bread for the day, not about acquisition and consuming. It is about alleviating human misery and redirecting bloated military budgets.
When we draw partisan lines around efforts for nuclear disarmament and call instead for additional funding to upgrade our stockpile (Will upgraded missiles obliterate a higher number of people?), we are not living the Good News. Peace is about letting go of fear and trusting in the Good News. We say, “In God we trust” and then allocate 52% of our budget for defense, Hmmmm!!!
We know what makes for peace; however, we choose death, not life. We choose the comfort of an imperial country and an imperial church both of which affirm us in our uncertainty and never challenge us to live the Good News.
Until we get it right and live the Good News, Jesus will continue to weep over Washington and Rome.