Engaging Faith: Practical lesson ideas and activities for Catholic Educators

February 22, 2008

Jesus' Plea for Peace


The following prayer activity on the theme of justice and peace is taken from Activities for Catholic Social Teachingby James McGinnis.

Background
Scrpture records only three times when Jesus wept: over the death of his friend Lazarus, during his agony in the garden, and over Jerusalem before his entry into his beloved "city of peace," which is the meaning of the word Jeru-salem.

Visual Meditation
Read Jesus' words "If this day you only knw what makes for peace" from Luke 19:42 and ask the students to repeat those words several times to themselves. Then invite the students to look into the face of the weeping Jesus (see above) while praying the "Litany on the Nonviolence of Jesus" (below) and think about what those tears are saying.

Litany on the Nonviolence of Jesus

Let us escalate love
Jesus, you wept over Jerusalem and its humiliating occupation by the Roman Empire, and you weep today over the escalating violence in your Holy Land. Jesus, in the face of escalating violence,

Let us escalate love
Jesus, you wept over Jerusalem and is exploitation of the poor, and you weep today over the escalating violence of poverty in our own society and world. Jesus, in the face of escalating violence,

Let us escalate love
Jesus, you wept over Jerusalem and its disregard of women and children, and you weep today over escalating violence against women and children in our own society and world. Jesus, in the face of escalating violence,

Let us escalate love
Jesus, you wept over Jerusalem and its deadly use of weapons of violence, and you weep today over the proliferation of the weapons of violence, from handguns to nuclear bombs, in our own society and world. Jesus, in the face of escalating violence,

Let us escalate love
Jesus, you wept over Jerusalem where capital punishment was rapant, and you weep today over the escalating use of capital punishment in our own society. Jesus, in the face of escalating violence,

Let us escalate love
Jesus, you wept over Jerusalem where the forces of domination were everywhere, and you weep today over the escalating domination—all the "isms"—in our own society and world. Jesus, in the face of escalating violence,

Let us escalate love


Discussion
Ask the students the following questions:
* Why did Jesus weep over Jerusalem?
* What were some of the forms of violence about which Jesus was so upset that he wept? (see the Litany)
* What future did Jesus see for Jerusalem if the people didn't repent from their violent ways?
* What would Jesus weep over in today's world?
* What is a strategy for you to repent from evil and be a person of peace?
* How can your individual strategy apply to larger issues of war and peace taking place in the world today?

Final Scripture Reflection
Read aloud the conclusion of Luke 19:43-44:
" . . . but now it is hidden from your eyes. For the days are coming upon you when your enemies will raise a palisade against you; they will encircle you and hem you in on all sides. They will smash you to the ground and your children within you because you did not recognize the time of your visitation."

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