Making Peace Possible
An ancient tradition says that Jerusalem means City of Peace. Through the centuries Jerusalem has been anything but a city of peace. It has been attacked, destroyed, and plundered on numerous occasions. Today it is the eye of a storm that is causing death and destruction.
Jesus rode into Jerusalem to become its messiah. He came not at the head of a conquering army but riding on a donkey, the animal we refer to as an ass. He came not to play God but to “empty himself and take the form of a slave.” He came to face rejection: “With that, all deserted him and fled.” Mark’s picture of Jesus’ rejection is bleak. There are no disciples around at the end, no relatives, not even God: “Why have you forsaken me?”
What will it take for us to understand the meaning of the cross, how Jesus made peace possible by his own suffering and dying? We keep thinking that we will bring peace by killing others in war; Jesus showed us that we bring peace by dying for others.
That earthly peace which arises from love of neighbor symbolizes and results from the peace of Christ who comes forth from God the Father. For by His cross the incarnate Son, the Prince of Peace, reconciled all men with God. By thus restoring the unity of all men in one people and one body, He slew hatred in His own flesh. After being lifted on high by His resurrection, He poured the Spirit of love into the hearts of men. For this reason, all Christians are urgently summoned ‘to practice the truth in love’ (Eph 4:15) and to join with all true peacemakers in pleading for peace and bringing it about.
VaticanII, Church in the Modern World