Last week, in his weekly column for the National Catholic Reporter, Fr. John Dear wrote about one verse from the Gospel of Luke that is often misread as a justification for war or violence, and how it should be interpreted.
Shortly before his crucifiction, while Jesus is praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, he tells his disciples that “one who does not have a sword should sell his cloak and buy one.” In response, the disciples find two swords, and Jesus replied, “It is enough” (Luke 22:35-38).
As Fr. Dear explains, the disciples simply didn’t understand that Jesus was not speaking literally. When his followers run off to produce two swords:
…Jesus, barely keeping the glimmer of light alive, snaps: “Stop. It’s enough!” Or in a better translation: “Oh, forget it!”
The misunderstanding is complete. The scriptures foretell it; Jesus resigns himself to it. It is part and parcel of his vocation.
But the Gospel doesn’t end there. Jesus presses the matter even yet.
During the tussle of the arrest, the disciples collectively ask for permission: Can we strike now? And one impetuous disciple (the other Gospels identify him as Peter) is in no mood to wait for an answer. He takes a swing and hacks off an ear of one of the Roman guards.
And again comes a rebuke from Jesus: “Enough! No more of this!”
When the disciples realize that Jesus refuses to take up arms even at this terrible moment they take to their heels. This nonviolent Jesus is more than they had bargained for.
And if we want to take this passage absolutely literally to justify war, Fr. Dear jokes at the end of his article:
…then clearly the passage limits the entire world to only two swords. And we’ll all have to share them.
The British climate movement’s ‘Big One’ brought out record numbers, but ran into a wall of silence. XR’s new strategy could turn this setback into a new lease on life.
Many are celebrating the recent convictions against the Proud Boys, but they will only strengthen the state’s ability to target the left.
A new book explores how Miss Major has persevered over six inspiring decades on the frontlines of the queer and trans liberation movement.
The US has got one sword and hates whoever else has the other.
Sounds like… drum roll… the swords race. By God, the Gospel is prophetic!
so what did he mean then? he who hasnt a sword , sell his cloak and buy one?
sword wont keep you warm as a cloak.
too durn cryptic for me. what does thomas have to say about this event?
i dint find this article satisfying. it doesnt clear up the matter, i get the oh forget it,. but what was he saying – could we have that reexpressed in todays colloquial please.