How confusing is He, this Son of God, who did not want to convince his “adversaries of the day before” by rising before them! Confusing that Jesus who does not even exploit his power! The Holy Days teach us that the Passion is a mystery, the mystery of a God who becomes incarnated in the world as it is, a world of violence and weakness, of which eventually he becomes a victim. The resurrection of Jesus on Easter morning remains a sign of the same mystery: His power will be immense but always fragile, open to rejection, open to unbelief.
In several countries of the West African subregion, we have just have had to face again violence and to experience attacks which created a great discomfort, without counting the victims, the hundreds of wounded people who had to be attended to. The material damage is huge, but even more so the trauma caused by these deadly operations. Violence is no longer only experienced elsewhere, it has now invited itself to our own home too, throughout the Sahelo-Saharan strip. Explanations are being given, more or less convincing, photos are posted, encouragement is lavished … But the question remains: what do we do, each one at our own level, to uproot this evil, to fight it out with determination? How do we bring some fresh air into this deleterious climate that gangreans the whole society? Each one of us has his / her share of responsibility and no one could ever say: I have nothing to do with it! Whenever I refuse to love in truth, whenever I do not involve myself thoroughly in the fight for more justice and peace, I share a responsibility for violence!
By his death on the cross, Jesus puts an end to all death, he is the Resurrection and the Life … “I have come so that human beings may have life and that they may have it in abundance” (John 10,10) . To conform our life to His life is to make ours that very simple message. Such is the “violence of the resurrection”, the folly of the cross will write Paul: it is given to us, entrusted, placed within our reach. The resurrection is a song: God composes the melody, we are the musical score.
Christ has suffered violence without retaliating, while fighting against injustices. Evangelical non-violence excludes neither conflict nor “holy wrath”, yet never undermines life. “You have heard that it has been said,” An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth “(Ex 21, 24). Well! I tell you not to stand up to the wicked; on the contrary, if anyone gives you a blow on the right cheek, stretch the other cheek too; if he takes you to court and wants to take your tunic, give him also your coat; if he requires you to run with him for a mile race, run for two miles with him. To the one who asks, give; whoever wants to borrow from you, do not turn your back “(Mt 5: 38-42). Here is the nonviolent injunction of Jesus in the Gospels. It is rather radical and for some people not very credible indeed.
Evangelical non-violence is unfolding at the heart of the conflicts, argued recently Father Mellon, a moralist Jesuit. In his diatribes against the scribes and the merchants of the Temple, Jesus does not hesitate to face his enemies with vigor, specifies the Jesuit. He never said, “Do not have enemies,” but rather, “Love your enemies”, which presupposes that we have enemies in the first place. And by inviting “to stretch the other cheek”, “Jesus invites us to leave the proliferating logic of violence”.
A non-violent action is neither naive nor passive. On the contrary, it acts for justice in an efficient way, and requires the commitment of everyone: non-violence presupposes a much greater solidarity between people. Among the three “Lenten invitations” made to us every year, solidarity must be taken seriously. As we have just experienced these times of turmoil in our countries of the sub-region, may we, like Jesus, silence all violence, offering our solidarity to those around us who suffer, who have wounded or even dead relatives among them.
Our best wishes, on the occasion of this feast of Easter, are summed up in the request of the “Our Father” … let us not enter into temptation … in the temptation of violence! Make of each one of us a peacemaker.
Happy and Holy feast of Easter 2018 to everyone and to all your communities.
(Editorial of the Baobab nr 29, Newsletter of PAO – translation Webmaster and Google … please excuse the approximations).
Father Luc Kola, Provincial PAO
and Father Delphin Nyembo Mabaka, Ass. Provincial PAO