Saturday, December 25, 2010

John Dear on Celebrating the Birth of the Nonviolent Jesus

I share today an excerpt from John Dear, SJ's latest column in the National Catholic Reporter and wish all my readers . . .

. . . a happy and peace-filled Christmas!

I’ve been thinking about Christmas as a time to celebrate the life of the nonviolent Jesus because his life is so remarkable, to say the least. Of course he is the God of peace present in our world of war, but I can barely wrap my mind around the mystery of the Incarnation.

So instead I consider Jesus’ whole life and discover there, in the cumulative effect, an entirely new way of life, something rarely seen, something rarely invoked in the mass media and the churches – the most perfect life of love, compassion, nonviolence, peacemaking and resistance to injustice and empire.

I see Jesus as a nonviolent revolutionary who sets in motion God’s peace movement for the disarmament of every heart, every nation and every age. His nonviolent revolution continues to this day and, as participants in it, we celebrate his birth and his revolutionary life.

Poverty, war, executions, global warming, drug killings, nuclear weapons – it’s hard to believe that Jesus’ life two thousand years ago has sparked the coming of new peace. That’s why as people of faith, Christmas invites us once again to dig deeper spiritual roots, to continue our own personal conversion to Christ, to believe in his Way and to carry on his Gospel witness.

When I look at his entire life, I’m challenged once again to renounce violence, let go of resentment, turn away from meanness, throw away despair, choose life, adopt his brave nonviolence, forgive everyone, offer compassion, practice universal love, and seek that Christmas gift of “peace on earth.” As we ponder his lifelong active nonviolence, we will rejoice because Jesus really offers us a Way out of madness.

– John Dear, SJ
"Celebrating the Birth of the Nonviolent Jesus"
National Catholic Reporter
December 21, 2010

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
A Bush Christmas (2009)
A Story of Searching and Discovery (Christmas 2008)
Clarity and Hope (Christmas 2007)
A Christmas Reflection by James Carroll
The Christmas Truce of 1914

Image: Artist unknown.


MarkNDenver said...

A Peace-filled season with joy and happiness in the coming year be to you and yours!

Thanks for using the John Dear article in your Christmas message. John is a good man and a great teacher. I was privileged to attend a week long conference given by John at Ghost Ranch in NM. It was on the works of Gandhi, King, Merton and Day. The modern day ancestors of the nonviolent movement.

What a great holiday present to get recently with the repeal of the DADT laws. Good things come to those who work for justice...

Peace and happiness!

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Blessed Christmas to you, Michael

Unknown said...

Here's a few verses from Chapters 4 and 5 of Matthew.

If Protestant Jesuits like Dear can pick and chose the verses they prefer to believe it, I guess a Catholic can do it too:

From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say: "Do penance, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." Matthew 4:17

For amen I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot, or one tittle shall not pass of the law, till all be fulfilled. Matthew 5:18

For I tell you, that unless your justice abound more than that of the scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:20

But I say to you, that whosoever is angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment. And whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council. And whosoever shall say, You fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Matthew 5:22

Be at agreement with your adversary betimes, whilst you are in the way with him: lest perhaps the adversary deliver you to the judge, and the judge deliver you to the officer, and you be cast into prison. 26 Amen I say to you, you shall not go out from thence till you repay the last farthing. Matthew 5:25

But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5:29

And if your right hand scandalize you, cut it off, and cast it from you: for it is expedient for you that one of your members should perish, rather than that your whole body go into hell. Matthew 5:30