“And they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruninghooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4)
“Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword”
“Violence profanes the name of God! Let us never tire of repeating: “The name of God cannot be used to justify violence. Peace alone is holy. Peace alone is holy, not war!” Pope Francis New Years Day 2017
Today, March 1st 2017, marks the first day of lent in the Christian calendar. Lent for Christians is a time for reflection and repentance.
Lent culminates in Good Friday, the remembrance of the crucifixion of Jesus, and Easter Sunday when He rose again. Jesus last words to his disciples before he was taken away were those quoted above “Put away your sword”. For the first 300 years of Christianity his followers largely obeyed these words and refused to kill their enemies. With the conversion of Emperor Constantine all this changed, and ever since Christians have blessed countless wars, and even lead their own.
But to true followers of Jesus nothing could be more blasphemous than the sword attached to the cross. Today many Christians are once again embracing nonviolence and refusing to kill their brothers and sisters.
Both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have called all Christians to reject violence. In 2007 Benedict said, “Loving the enemy is the nucleus of the “Christian revolution,” a revolution not based on strategies of economic, political or media power.” And just recently Francis proclaimed in his New Year peace document, “The name of God cannot be used to justify violence”.
We come here today to repent all wars blessed by the Christian churches. We come to remove the sword from the cross on which our savior was crucified. We come to beat it into a “ploughshare”, in this case a garden hoe. The ploughshare is a symbol of life. The sword is a symbol of death. We choose life.
We willingly accept any consequences of this call to repentance, as we remove and convert the blasphemous sword form the cross. We pray that other Christians will join us in recognizing our past and present sin in bearing the sword while worshipping the nonviolent Jesus.
We pray for a time to come when all Christians will refuse to kill their brothers and sisters in war.
Brisbane Catholic Worker movement
Phone : Jim Dowling 34253003 or Tim Webb 33420179