How can a person find their way in the midst of a world of lies, in systems of violence, injustice and abuse of power? How does one keep one's courage despite the cynicism of the powerful? How does one keep one's love for people in the face of the seducibility and manipulation of the masses, in the face of unbearable brutality, arbitrary cruelty, destruction of nature and hatred? Where does one get one's confidence in the face of the certain death sentence pronounced by authorities, power-hungry psychopaths and political puppeteers?
Jesus always answered such questions by freeing people from their restlessness, insecurity and distraction, giving them a point of view and new perspective outside of fear.
"Come, all you who are weary and overburdened, to rest I will give you." (Mt 11:28)
"Fear not them which would kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." (Mt 10:28)
As long as people remain imprisoned in fear, as in a narrow dungeon, they only prepare hell on earth for each other: they increase fear instead of alleviating it.
But once you have understood and experienced what you are essentially living from, you are able to break the chains and walls of all the fearful and anxious considerations and misperceptions and free yourself, you are able to lift your head and open your eyes, spread your arms and accept life: From a sense of trust and familiarity, a humanity becomes possible that everyone dreams of and expects, but at the same time is unable to see or even declares it as impossible.
The Easter story is a story of extreme despair and hope, of writhing in pain and overcoming fear, of intimidation by the supposedly powerful and liberation from bondage.
The cross is one of the most indictable and worst instruments of torture: it not only tortures and kills man, but also exposes him, mocks him and wants to expose him as a deterrent example.
What happened on Good Friday is inhuman, not justified by anything, not then and not now and never again. And yet it took place and continues to take place.
And here lies the riddle of history that needs to be solved and that confronts us again and again. God could not have wanted this, at least not the loving, fatherly God that Jesus assured us of; and yet it happens. And Jesus knows it, he chooses this way, he does not want it to happen, but he knows it is inevitable.
Why does the Son of Man, the Prophet, the Messiah have to die like this? And why is this the experience of so many prophets, so many visionaries, so many reformers and seekers of truth?
Whoever wants to live the greatest dreams and visions of the soul, whoever truly trusts in the God of l+Love, obviously inevitably gets into the greatest contradiction with the people of his time?! In any case, he inevitably comes into contradiction with the power-hungry of the world!
Jesus is a peaceful revolutionary who, despite all the social threatening gestures and power games, does not recognize the rules of the game that enslave people, make them afraid and unfree. He wants to free people from the chains of fear and violence, so that man understands life again from within himself and discovers the original, the truly divine rules, which he has always felt deep within himself and longingly preserved, but in which he has lost faith and trust in the face of the perversion of religion, in the face of social double standards, religious and commercial seducers, brutal and fear-mongering rulers.
Jesus speaks: "You have heard that ... But I say to you ..."
No sooner does he arrive in Jerusalem than he throws out of the temple those who abuse the holy place for commerce and personal gain.
He celebrates the Passover as an outcast with the outcasts. He redefines it, free from the priestly paternalism. Unperturbed by the fact that he is called a "false teacher" and a "seducer of the people" by those who derive their power from interfering in everything, forcing themselves between God and man and oppressing him through a system of morality and guilt. Jesus develops a new meaning for the feast, where until then an animal, a "scapegoat", was slaughtered as a symbol to impose and expel the guilt of a whole people.
But is it just to take an innocent person and make him the scapegoat, the victim for all the others who really bear the responsibility and justly deserve the punishment? This would create an archaic image of a whimsical, biased, bloodthirsty judging patriarch. But this very image was overcome by the whole action of Jesus.
He transforms the bloodthirsty ritual of guilt into an element of renewed life (thus preparing the resurrection, so to speak). Just as nature, the whole world is constantly renewed, without guilt, without sacrifice.
Even if the high priests accuse and murder him, it is all the more important to understand that there is a life that cannot be killed. Let the executioners, the soldiers, the powerful administer death; life will never be theirs! Even if they put people in chains out of fear, they cannot access its freedom. Every word of a free-thinking, every sound from the mouth of Jesus will be greater than all their lies. Every breath of his goodness is the beginning of a coming kingdom, a becoming reality in which we are all free, healthy, happy people united in peace.
Even during his arrest and in the face of violence, Jesus remains non-violent; "Whoever takes up the sword will perish by the sword."
Even unto death, Jesus makes true what he said in the Sermon on the Mount: "Do not refute violence with new violence; do not engage in evil; overcome it by the nonviolence of good." (Mt 5:39)
On Good Friday, we must remember above all those who are and were victims of violence, but especially those who became victims precisely because they consistently wanted to live the non-violence of Jesus: the martyrs and deserters, the pacifists and war resisters. Far too little do we despise the cowardice and supposedly mendacious "heroic deeds" of the soldiers and far too little do we admire the courage of the pacifists and too seldom do we commemorate the suffering of the many people who refused to serve in the war, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Quakers, the deserters and conscientious objectors who died in the Nazi concentration camps, for example. And far too little do we stand up for those who are opening up the truth to us today, the whistleblowers and leakers, like Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning. They rejected the inhuman cynicism that seeks to tie survival to the art of murder. But their truth lives and resurrects again and again.
If it is not understood, even here and now, one lie will continue to be more evil than another, one war more evil than another. War against terror, war against dissent or war against a virus. The murder and slaughter will be perfected until the threat of the downfall of humanity or parts of it is deemed "inevitable", "right", "responsible" and absolutely "necessary" to save some idea, some delusion, some lie.
But in this course one does not remain human, for one loses humanity and forces it out of the young people one teaches to hate and kill.
But blessed are those who bring salvation to others, who make peace, who remain non-violent in the face of violence; they are called sons and daughters of God, sons of men and daughters of men = human beings. (Mt 5:9)
Where attempts are made to isolate man, to deprive him of life through death, the curtain in the temple that tried to separate man from God is torn, the graves are opened, and despair becomes hope, courage becomes reality, death becomes manifold life.
What we celebrate with the resurrection at Easter is also the resurrection, the immortality of humanity. It is a physical law that nothing is lost, no energy disappears. Nature demonstrates it to us all the time, and now in spring we see and feel it clearly, if only we go out and open our eyes to see how we can overcome the glorification of violence and hatred in the media, and can overcome finally war and violence.
What man is in truth cannot be killed.
"The non-violent will inherit the land." (Mt 5:5)
Easter, then, is the celebration of the courage to live.
We celebrate that courage overcomes fear,
that Life is stronger than death,
and that action conquers hopelessness.