Second Sunday of the Year Reflection
And when the Advocate comes he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and concerning righteousness and concerning judgment… John 16:8
Fast forward, and even this same John the Baptist gets it wrong, doubting and scandalised at the gratuity offered by the Lamb of God.
Our God walks with us through the history of who we are, whom we are becoming, and the final emblazoned glory of whom we were made to be as God’s family that is revealed in the Christ event and the ongoing process of Christogenesis.
This is a process that moves us through the blinding darkness of unknowing into new insight, letting go of old paradigms and patterns that have kept us so fearfully enslaved and leading always into the reactive violence or avoidance and compromise. This is especially true within ourselves where we are called to face our own violence, our fear, and our illusions, bringing them into the light and allowing the Love of God within us to transform us also into that pattern of Christ.
It was in spiritual darkness that St Francis plumbed the depths and the heights of contemplative nonviolence. He experienced the fullness of nonviolent, suffering love for Christ and all humanity.
John the Baptist testifies to Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; THE sin. This is Jesus the Christ who exposes the very nature of the sin of the world. Jesus takes upon himself, takes into himself, all ignorant violence, whether profane or sacred (for they know not what they do), takes into himself through that final loss of control that leads into the heart of darkness of death, and transforms it into new life and light.
Jesus the Christ takes into himself the worst of evil and violence and transforms into wondrous new life. Jesus shows us that it is not in reactionary defence, pre-emptive strikes, retaliation or even by avoidance that evil is overcome but by fusing it within ourselves with that Love which is at the core of our being.
This is the way, the only way, for both you and me to transform evil into good; this is the pattern of redemption for all of humanity so that in Christ we are no longer the victim, no longer helpless, for he has given us victory over death.
Jesus shows us on the cross how to hold the pain and let it transform us, rather than pass it on to others around us. Love conquers violence as it conquers death. When we understand this we are truly set free.
In St Francis, our seraphic father we see the icon of such freedom. St Francis embraced simplicity and poverty, served the needy and lived in peace and nonviolence, loving friend and enemy alike. This is the mighty social ethic that we as Franciscans called to proclaim. If the whole world practiced the Franciscan ethic of social justice and nonviolence, hunger and warfare would end.
Pope Francis especially speaks out against those who would use violence in the name of religion, “Let us say once more a firm and clear ‘No!’ to every form of violence, vengeance, and hatred carried out in the name of religion or the name of God… Together let us affirm the incompatibility of violence and faith, belief and hatred.”
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