I was just on the road doing the typical runabout for my job and during this time the part in the gospel where Christ leaves the last supper with the three came to me. Specifically speaking, when Christ tells them to being with them a sword. Peter shows them his, and Jesus tells him that will be enough.
I must admit I am rather confused on this part of scripture. Christ knew he was going to die, yet he tells them to be armed. Now I’m no theologian and I have zero experience in any classroom with regards to the faith, but I’m just going to wing it because I like to think things through out loud, usually just among friends but hey don’t take me too seriously with what I write and correct me if you think I’m way off. I accept criticism with gratitude!
So anyways Christ tells some of his followers to bring swords with them as he heads off to Gethsemane, to which Peter revels his sword, Christ approves and they leave.
My initial take on this action in revealing the sword that is called for by God we see a foreshadowing of the Church Militant, called to battle by God. Christ’s order to bring the weapon contrasts with his “Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart”. Many people would say that this is a contradiction, how can one at the same time be meek and yet willingly violent? Do you remember when Christ told his followers to turn the cheek when someone slaps them and let them slap the other. Yet how many of us realize that when Christ stands before the Sanhedrin and is slapped his meekness remains as does his humility, but he questions the man who slapped him, questioning the motive and calling the person out for their action. Here we see violence, perhaps not physically, but a verbal and mental violence where the person is confronted and attacked in his environment. In his humility Christ demands the person to cease, forcing him out of the comfort of mockery into a moment of clarity where a path must be choosen, a dividing point like the edge of the blade. In the garden when Peter reveals the sword it seems to me that a new division is underway. That the Apostles don’t hesitate to bring forth a blade is also telling. We are called the Church Militant for a reason, and its not so people can pose for pictures with the Knights of Columbus playing dress up when seeking fraternal. Our weapons may not be physical but they are indeed real. The Rosary is the greatest weapon our Lord has granted to us, and he tells us through is Blessed Mother to make this a daily devotion. I cant tell you how important this is, JUST DO IT!
The sword is then revealed again when Christ is confronted by the Sanhedrin guard. Here we see Peter in a moment of confusion pull the dagger and strike the servant of the high priest. Jesus then repremends him telling him to put the sword back in the scabbard, that those who live by the sword with surely die by it.
Now if you are anything like me you are scratching your head….”But Jesus didn’t you have him bring the sword for a reason? I don’t get it. Is it but only a decoration? Something to look fierce with?”
It seems to me that in this moment of savagery Our Lord is reminding Peter that different times call for different reactions. For Christ knew that he was going to his death but he encouraged his followers to bring a sword. In other words violence has its time and reason, and God is not against such action for the right reason. Hence he involves the weapon in the matter. So too in his providence he knew Peter would strike at the servant and would have to be reprimanded. But think about that for a second. Later Peter will deny our Lord, but here perhaps in a moment of confusion and self defense thinking of his own well being he moves to action. Is his thinking about Christ here? Im not sure. It seems like his own desires are first and foremost in his mind when striking. Just as when he was rebuked after Proclaiming Christ and being named the Rock. In other words his mind is not on Christ, but on selfish desires.
We are then struck with how God can take a moment of confusion and trial and turn it into something good. He heals the servant of the High Priest who was against him more than likely. So it was ordained from time immemorial that God would bring good out of such confusion and violence. Think about the crusades here, but I wont delve into that today, perhaps another time. Many of you know that this servant later left this band of henchmen and his own priest and took up fellowship with the Apostles. So in a moment of disaster when chaos reigns Christ in his own action of calling for the sword to be brought influenced how this servant would later be brought to faith.
Now I know some might object that one cannot bring good by perpetrating evil, but that’s not what I am getting at. The slicing of the servants ear was a turning point a literal severing of what was into what is to come, Christ entering into his life.
Well that’s my thoughts, what do you think?