Live by the Gun, Die by the Gun

The Massacre at Las Vegas reminds that non-violence is essential to live the Gospel.

To sing "Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition" is satanic. To own an arsenal of high-powered weapons with the intention of killing other people--even in self-defense--is anti-Gospel. To continue to fight against common-sense gun reform is to worship at an altar stained with the blood spilled by others, not at an altar stained with the blood of Christ.

Yet we remain paralyzed because the powerful have convinced us that standing your ground is a sign of strength and that only good guys with guns can stop bad guys with guns. We worship at the altar of violence to praise a god of strength, without realizing that this are not a god at all, only a monument to the world's suffering.

As I continue to reflect and mourn about the massacre at Las Vegas, I am moved to act. Such actions will include in pressing my legislators to support gun control legislation and contribute to gun control groups, but more importantly, I will recommit myself to my vow to a life of nonviolence.

I invite you to do the same.


Jesus Is Arrested

While Jesus was still speaking, Judas arrived. He was one of the 12 disciples. A large crowd was with him. They were carrying swords and clubs. The chief priests and the elders of the people had sent them. Judas, who was going to hand Jesus over, had arranged a signal with them. “The one I kiss is the man,” he said. “Arrest him.” So Judas went to Jesus at once. He said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” And he kissed him.

Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came to do.”

Then the men stepped forward. They grabbed Jesus and arrested him. At that moment, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword. He pulled it out and struck the slave of the high priest with it. He cut off the slave’s ear.

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him. “All who use the sword will die by the sword.

--Matthew 26:47-52

"Be still and know that I am God." Settle into these words and recognize God's loving presence in and around you.

Become aware of your moods and your desires. What do they tell you about the grace you need? Ask God for this grace.

Read (and re-read) the Gospel passage. Imagine yourself in the scene. The dark of the night surrounds you, its collness sends shivers down your spine.

You hear the mob, shouting and screaming, demanding that Jesus be handed over. The brandish their weapons and hurl insults at you. What sensations come over you in the face of their rage?

  Capture of Christ  by Fra Angelico (c.1440)

Capture of Christ by Fra Angelico (c.1440)

Identify yourself with one person from the story. Are you like the mob, seeking to do justice to a man who dares challenges the status quo? Are you like the companion who stands his ground, grabbing his sword and striking the slave? Are you like the slave, participating in the arrest because you were forced too? Are you like Jesus, offering no resistance to those who would harm you?

Allow the Gospel to become a background to your personal interaction with Jesus. Let your creativity take over, trusting that the Holy Spirit is guiding you.

How does this interaction move you? Are you left feeling disturbed and cold? Are you comforted or inspired? Spend a few moments discussing this these feelings with Jesus. Talk to him as if your were talking to your most intimate friend. 

Close with your favorite prayer, or simply sit in silence for several moments, thanking Jesus for this time together.

Amen.