sexta-feira, 12 de maio de 2017


The rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.
Luke 1:78b-79 (read 1.68-79) - NIV

In this text, Zechariah is praising the Lord for his son, John (the Baptist), who would be the prophet to prepare the way for the arrival of the Savior of his people. He spoke of hope for peace, freedom and a life without oppression and fear.

Prophets of all ages (and of many different religions) have preached the coming of a dying and rising God Savior that will strike the wicked, destroy evil and impose justice, peace and prosperity. The Jews awaited a human figure to fulfill this mission for the People of Israel. Christians expect a triumphant Christ to come from heaven to destroy evil and restore an earthly paradise. Both traditions dismiss peace as a means of establishing peace. For them, peace will be the result of violence which will eliminate evil. They ignore that violence is evil in itself.

Fundamentalist monotheists: Jews, Christians and Muslims are following the path of the violence of war and terrorism to destroy their enemies and establish their versions of paradise. The result has been disastrous for humanity, creating hell for millions, if not billions, of people.

By contrast, the Savior of the gospels, Jesus of Nazareth, was poor, landless, homeless and with no institutional power. He came to "guide our feet into the way of peace". His weapon was love that produces kindness, mercy and forgiveness. He forbade his followers to take up arms or to defend themselves. They were sent as “sheep among wolves” with empty hands and only the clothes on their back.

Jesus’ manner was very different from what was expected. John the Baptist thought that the behavior of Jesus was strange. Jesus was not aggressive towards the oppressors, did not try to impose a new social order and was not abstinent; instead, he celebrated life with his friends. He was too peaceful for John’s taste. John was unsure if Jesus was really the announced savior. He sent his disciples to ask Jesus if he was the one who would come or should we expect another. Jesus pointed out his ministry of solidarity, peace and freedom as signs of who he was.

Freedom is the fruit of justice. Justice is rooted in goodness and mercy. The steps on the path of peace and freedom lead us toward the practice of justice, mercy and goodness. Everything is connected into one unit. This concept is contrary to the practice of the "civilized" world that tries to establish peace and freedom with the use of coercion and violence, thinking that it will destroy evil. Violence against evil never established a social order of justice, peace and freedom.

The steps to peace are: solidarity in place of competition, respect for others instead of manipulation, forgiveness instead of retribution, compassion as an alternative to condemnation and acceptance as a substitute for rejection. This is how the sun (Son) from heaven will "shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death."


Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come to his people and redeemed them.
He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
(as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
to show mercy to our ancestors
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High;
for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him,
to give his people the knowledge of salvation
through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness
and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the path of peace.”

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