Crushed By the Cross – Jesus falls for the first time under the burden of the Cross. Brutal violence has weighted him down, just like that which afflicts peasants, farm workers and the urban poor today. In the foreground we see Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador, a man of peace who was assassinated at the altar when celebrating Mass on 24 March 1980. Jesus never taught “just war theory”; he taught nonviolence, telling Peter to put away his sword - “No more of this” (Luke 22:51). As such, the cross becomes the supreme symbol of nonviolence – the power of love that exceeds the love of power.The Stations are based on liberation theology, which for me has its positive as well as problematic sides, but the brutal violence of so much of our world does weigh us down as did the brutal violence that Jesus experienced. It's not just in wars and civil wars that violence is played out: on Saturday the 4th of April a father shot dead his five children, then himself, near Seattle; on the same day a gunman killed three Pittsburgh policemen before he was wounded and caught; on Friday, April 3rd a gunman killed thirteen people at an immigration centre in Binghamton, New York, and then killed himself; and on Sunday March 29 a gunman killed seven elderly residents and a nurse at a nursing home in Carthage, North Carolina, then shot and wounded himself; and in another incident on that same Sunday a man killed five relatives and himself in Santa Clara, California. And there are the incidents that only make the local papers: the man who beats his wife to an inch of her life; the wife who shoots her husband because of long term abuse; the children who suffer violence in silence. It is all too much to bear. Then I look at what Jesus bore and I cry and I hope that I do reach out when a hand is needed and I thank God for never having had to endure such things myself. It is true that all violence is good for is more violence.
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