Pope Francis & The Weapon of “Non-Violence”

Pope Francis touches the wall that divides Israel from the West Bank in the West Bank city of BethlehemIn case you missed it, Pope Francis is in the Middle-East and he’s currently leaving a trail of peace and restoration where ever he goes.  (A welcome change for the region I’m sure)

Making an unscripted stop at the wall separating the Palestinian West Bank area from Israel, the Pope hopped out of his “popemobile” and placed his hands on the graffiti laced barrier to pray.

As Elizabeth Dias writes for Time:

Only a Holy Father like Francis could pull off this kind of stunt. One small gesture, and the Israeli military in the watchtower above and the Palestinian people below were all at his mercy. He rendered all sides powerless by drawing them into his service, the most counterintuitive service of prayer.

 

Both sides of a decades old conflict were disarmed by the Pope’s action. A beautiful space was created in a much larger, more menacing, metaphorical wall.

And for brief moment, in that beautiful space, a ray of light was able to shine through.

Pastor and Peace Activist Jarrod McKenna spoke in Hong Kong recently and he mentioned the power of non-violence as a “weapon”.  Unlike normal weapons that bring damage and pain, when non-violence is used as a weapon it brings healing and restoration to whatever it strikes.

Pope Francis knows how to wield non-violence!

In the same article Diaz continues

To top it all off, during his sermon at mass, Francis made a historic invitation: “In this place where the Prince of Peace was born, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, and President Shimon Peres, to raise together with me an intense prayer to God for the gift of peace. And I offer my house in the Vatican to host you in this encounter of prayer.”

Within an hour, both leaders had accepted his invitation. What were they going to say, no?

President Barak Obama?

President Vladimir Putin?

President Xi Jinping?

Each are heads of powerful countries controlling powerful war machines that shape the geo-politics of the world.

Yet none of them comes close to influence and moral authority wielded by an elderly man from Argentina armed only with compassion, faith and prayer.

Why should we be surprised?

Jesus showed him how its done!

 

 

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