Deel Op

Walter Kasper

Kardinaal, Emeritus voorzitter van de Pauselijke Raad voor de Eenheid van de Christenen, de Heilige Stoel
Eph. 6: 13-20
That is why you must take up all God's armour, or you will not be able to put up any resistance on the evil day, or stand your ground even though you exert yourselves to the full. So stand your ground, with truth a belt round your waist, and uprightness a breastplate, wearing for shoes on your feet the eagerness to spread the gospel of peace and always carrying the shield of faith so that you can use it to quench the burning arrows of the Evil One. And then you must take salvation as your helmet and the sword of the Spirit, that is, the word of God. In all your prayer and entreaty keep praying in the Spirit on every possible occasion. Never get tired of staying awake to pray for all God's holy people, and pray for me to be given an opportunity to open my mouth and fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel of which I am an ambassador in chains; pray that in proclaiming it I may speak as fearlessly as I ought to.
I. The message
"Be ready to fight for the Gospel of Peace." You have to fight and resist for this. This is the message of the passage letter to the Ephesians.
Already in the First Century the great wish was peace, and it is still today in the twenty-first century. In every age, men have awaited the Prince of Peace. Each coronation announced the beginning of a peaceful time. But none of them kept the promise. The prophet Isaiah prophesied of the Messiah as Prince of Peace (Is 9: 5), he saw the messengers announcing peace with the message: "Reign your God" (Is 52, 7)
The letter to the Ephesians concretizes the fulfillment of this promise. "Jesus Christ is our peace" (Eph 2: 14). He did not erect walls, but he destroyed them and healed the ancient wound that crossed human history, he annulled the barriers of prejudice and mutual attribution of guilt.
He contrasted the logic of enmity and mutual exclusion with the logic of reconciliation, forgiveness, inclusion, and integration (Eph. 2,13-17). He has brought back to himself, as the master, all things, those in heaven and those on earth, and he has pacified the cosmos (Eph 1: 10; Col 1,20).
II. The situation
The decisive battle was won through the cross and resurrection, but for us the final victory has not yet come. On the contrary! Reality is pressing, the world situation is literally apocalyptic. The letter wants to awaken from cosiness, satiety, comfort, and indifference. It is the alarm for an indolent, irresponsible Christianity that mistakenly believes to be safe. As the church hymn says: "Wake up the dead Christianity from the sleep of security" (GL 481).
The situation is serious. Not only because the world swarms with arms, and some also make lucrative trade and disgusting gains out of it. It's pretty awful now. We even speak of incendiary bombs, which were already dangerous at the time they were being used, and today they would be infinitely more. But the fear of the world has even deeper reasons. They are not just the physical powers that cause fear and dismay and that we must counteract. Powers of evil invade the world. We must not identify them with people, nations, or world religions. They nest in them, and sometimes even in ourselves. We talk about subtle attacks of evil. The evil one exists and has the primary purpose of realizing evil with subtle malice and perfidy. He circles around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour (1 Peter 5: 8).
III. What to do?
What to do? We must arm ourselves, arm with the weapons of God. Only God can defeat these forces of evil. No new crusade will be launched, a spiral of violence and intimidation will not be interrupted with violence. In extreme emergency cases, exhausted by all other means, it may be the ultimate solution, and the secular state must be able to respond to these extreme situations, within the limits of its forces. But one must not invoke the rhetoric of martyrdom. On the contrary, for us Christians there is only the sword of the spirit, the Word of God.
Every Christian is involved in this spiritual struggle with baptism. With baptism we renounced to evil. The concept of being soldiers of Christ frequently appears, both in the Bible and in the Church Fathers, but we have sweetened it witha  too bourgeois Christianity. We need to rearm ourselves.
First, we need wear the belt of truth. Truth is what is firm, which remains and is always and everywhere and is always trustworthy, unless you want to be dragged and beaten by every breath of wind and every wave of fashion (Eph. 6:14). Parousia is the frankness that, without political correctness, reveals the situation in its full reality, which against every hypocrisy calls things by name, which confronts the Fake News and the words of hate with the thoughts of peace. Frankness is not to hide behind the mountain, but to openly take the word. To put it more banally: be attentive to more and better public relations for the good work of the gospel!
And add the armor of justice. Opus iustitiae pax. Peace is the work of righteousness (Is 32: 17). As long as our world is dominated by injustice and inhuman conditions that scream against God, there can be no peace. Earth is the common home of all; it belongs to all and its goods, even if not distributed equally among all, must at least allow everyone to live a dignified life. We Christians do not have a Marshall Plan. But we know that every single person counts. He or she who saves a life, saves the whole world.
Finally: availability. No one can be taken aback with cowardice, can hide and look comfortably from the armchair at the need of others. Fortitude is needed. It's not temerity, but willingness to risk something. For the sake of goodness to accept disadvantages, wounds, and even death in an extreme case. Everyone has to ask oneself, and one day we will be asked: What did you do to make the world a bit safer, a bit more peaceful?
IV. "Do not get tired of praying!"
The true weapon oft he spirit has not yet been named. Pray incessantly! We are called to an assault prayer. Prayer is the most powerful force in the world, surely more effective than the Sunday preaching, even at Kirchentag or Katholikentag.
In addition to being strong and resisting, let‘s add each other's intercession. God alone holds the ranks of world events in hand. He alone has access to hearts. He can trigger thoughts of peace. Listen to the screams of our brothers and sisters who live under persecution and in anguish. We can not forget them either. We can not put a deadly silence vis-a-vis the persecution of Christians. This prayer brings us together here, and if God wants not only here and now. Let u spray for all this.