Monday, April 20, 2015


“Give us Barabbas!", from The Bible and its Story Taught by One Thousand Picture Lessons, 1910

“You denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked that a murderer be released to you.  The author of life you put to death, but God raised him from the dead; of this we are witnesses.”  Act 3:14-15   In a recent scripture reading at mass, Peter is giving testimony to a healing in the name of Jesus, to the people gathered in the Temple.  He upbraids the people for having chosen the violence of a murderer, Barabbas, over the nonviolent healing death-conquering mercy of Jesus whom they sent to be crucified.

The Jewish people of that day are no different in this, from people of our society today.   They chose the violence of Barabbas, a revolutionary who worked for the freedom of their people, by any means necessary.   We choose to rely on the most powerful weaponry and military ever devised, to protect our freedom and lifestyle.   Despite our military machine’s sophistication, murder of innocents occurs in uncounted numbers daily, in one part of the world or another, at our behest.   In the bargain, violent evil re-invests itself.   Our very protection becomes evil’s force multiplier.

One recent example from one of our highly touted drones war theaters, to illustrate how insidious this becomes.  
In the most recent strike analyzed by the Open Society report, in April 2014, two drones fired on a Toyota Land Cruiser outside the town of Bayda. The report concludes that the men in the Land Cruiser, all of whom were killed, were indeed Qaeda fighters.
But shrapnel from the strike hit 12 laborers in a Toyota Hilux just ahead of the Land Cruiser. Four of them were killed and five more injured, the report found, based on interviews with survivors. Based on negotiations between tribal leaders and the Yemeni government, the government paid about $55,000 in compensation and 30 Kalashnikov rifles, costs that Yemeni officials have said are generally covered by the United States.   The policy in our proxy wars is to compensate the victims with dollars, and by passing out more guns {made in Russia, no problem—it’s all the same ballgame}. 

Wars big and small are all about killing and murder.   Weapons have become our major currency of foreign policy.  These are the tools and the way of Barabbas.   This Easter there can be no hope in continuing to choose him over Jesus.   Our guns and bombs fuse into a giant millstone around our neck.  Jesus conquers evil and death by courageous merciful engagement with the enemy. 

This is done by purposefully rejecting the enemy’s killing method—replacing the sword of power with the cross of forgiveness.  How can this be practical?   If the Son of God says and does so, making this God’s way, who can credibly argue otherwise?   

Next week I’ll try to outline practical steps towards Middle East peace that follow this path away from the drones of Pax Romana, towards Pax Christi.

Reference {worth reading & following links}

The Saudis are doing no better in Yemen with their airstrikes, using jets made in USA.
Photo from this article --
Explosion Rips Through Homes in Yemen’s Capital After Airstrike

Art & Illumination by Kathy Brahney

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