by Rev. John Dear, SJ, Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
On Good Friday, we stand with the nonviolent Jesus as he suffers torture and execution at the hands of the empire, yet remains centered in the God of love, forgiving and nonviolent to the end. Gandhi said that in his death, Jesus practiced perfect nonviolence. He teaches us not only how to suffer and die, but becomes a spiritual explosion of disarming love that is still transforming us all. This Holy Week, we might listen to the words of Jesus from the cross, as offered in the four Gospels, for clues about following him faithfully on the way of nonviolence in pursuit of justice and peace. Here are the famous seven last sayings of the crucified, nonviolent Jesus.
“Father forgive them, they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34)
Throughout his humiliation, torture and public execution, Jesus never yells, shows anger, threatens anyone, condemns anyone or says a word of violence, vengeance or retaliation. He enters into universal compassion for the entire human race, in perfect solidarity with everyone who suffers and dies throughout history, and so explodes into universal love…