In New Mexico, where the CAC is located, there are two national nuclear laboratories. In a recent pastoral letter, Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe called for a conversation toward nuclear disarmament. He rooted his invitation in Jesus’ teachings:
I invite us to reflect on how Jesus practiced nonviolence and how we can do the same in the United States.
When he began his public ministry, Jesus said, “The kingdom of God is at hand, repent and believe in the Gospel” (Mark 1:15). In part, he was saying the days of violence, injustice, war, and empire are coming to an end. We are invited to welcome God’s reign of peace and live in God’s universal love and nonviolence here and now.
In the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7), Jesus commanded us to be peacemakers and to love our enemies, saying: “Blessed are the peacemakers, they will be called the sons and daughters of God” (5:9). “You have heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ but I say to you: ‘offer no violent resistance to one who does evil’” (5:38–39). “You have heard it said, ‘Love your countrymen and hate your enemies.’ But I say love your enemies and pray for your persecutors, then you will be sons and daughters of the God who lets the sun rise on the good and the bad and the rain to fall on the just and the unjust” (5:43–45). In these teachings, Jesus says that God is a peacemaker, and since we are God’s sons and daughters, we are peacemakers too, not warmakers. He says that God practices universal nonviolent love, and since we are the sons and daughters of the God of universal nonviolent love, we practice universal nonviolent love, too. There are no exceptions, no justifications for warfare, and no “just war theory.”
Many would question these teachings as naïve, impractical, and idealistic. But as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote so well about this call to love our enemies, “Jesus is not an impractical idealist: he is the practical realist.”  Dr. King also stated:
Far from being the pious injunction of a Utopian dreamer, the command to love one’s enemy is an absolute necessity for our survival. Love even for enemies is the key to the solution of the problems of our world. 
Archbishop Wester continues:
I invite us to have a conversation together about what it means to follow the risen, nonviolent Jesus, who calls us to be peacemakers, put down the sword, and love everyone, even the enemies of our nation. Certainly, these commandments challenge us to face the violence that is being prepared in our name here in New Mexico, and to start the process of nuclear disarmament so that no one ever again calls down hellfire from the sky. As Dr. King concluded, “May we . . . hear and follow [Jesus’] words—before it is too late.” 
 Martin Luther King Jr., A Gift of Love: Sermons from Strength to Love and Other Preachings (Boston, MA: Beacon Press, 2012), 46.
 King, Gift of Love, 45–46.
 King, Gift of Love, 55.
John C. Wester, “Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace,” Oneing 10, no. 2, Nonviolence (Fall 2022): 115, 116, 118–119. Forthcoming at CAC Bookstore.
“Living in the Light of Christ’s Peace” is an edited excerpt from the pastoral letter of the same name published by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico, on January 11, 2022. Used with permission. The full text may be found at https://archdiosf.org/living-in-the-light-of-christs-peace.
Explore Further. . .
- Read Richard on the nonviolence of Jesus and the early Christians.
- Learn more about this year’s theme Nothing Stands Alone.
- Meet the team behind the Daily Meditations.
Image credit: Susan Ruggles, Rally Against Iraq War 0017 (detail), 2003, Milwaukee, photograph, Wikimedia. Susan Ruggles, Iraq War Anniversary Peace Rally (detail), 2003, Milwaukee, photograph, Wikimedia. Susan Ruggles, Rally Against Iraq War 0014 (detail), 2003, Milwaukee, photograph, Wikimedia. Jenna Keiper & Leslye Colvin, 2022, triptych art, United States. Click here to enlarge image.
Image inspiration: Candles are on either side of a central image, as in a sanctuary. Nonviolence is sacred.
Story from Our Community:
Today I awoke to my first day of the Camino de Santiago in Spain. I embarked on this journey in response to several years of many spiritual and worldly challenges. Along my walk, I encountered a message that will be with me throughout this journey and beyond: “yo estoy aqui, yo estoy aqui ahora,” or “I am here, I am here now.” I’m grateful that these words, and the words of the Daily Meditations, will accompany me in returning to peace within myself. —Dana G.
Prayer for our community:
God, Lord of all creation, lover of life and of everything, please help us to love in our very small way what You love infinitely and everywhere. We thank You that we can offer just this one prayer and that will be more than enough, because in reality every thing and every one is connected, and nothing stands alone. To pray for one part is really to pray for the whole, and so we do. Help us each day to stand for love, for healing, for the good, for the diverse unity of the Body of Christ and all creation, because we know this is what You desire: as Jesus prayed, that all may be one. We offer our prayer together with all the holy names of God, we offer our prayer together with Christ, our Lord, Amen.