Avoiding a False Peace
Did not the very ones who put him to death ask him to make terms with them? Did they not shout up to the throne: "Come down from the cross and we will believe"; in other words, "Come down and make a false peace. You are too insistent in the rights of your heavenly Father. You are too uncompromising about sin. You are too intolerant about your divinity. Can you not see that your claim to be the Son of God and Redeemer of the world is upsetting the world? Did you not hear one of the judges say to you last night 'One man must die for the nation to keep peace'? Come down and we will have peace."
Yes, if he had come down, there would have been peace; but a false peace! Our Lord stayed on the Cross until it was finished. He would not compromise his divinity. He would not compromise obedience to his Father's will. He would not minimize the horror of sin.
And so he stayed on the cross making war against evil until the battle was over, like a dying soldier who feebly fights with ebbing strength until his cause is victorious. That is why he could cry at the end: "It is consummated."
So, too, we must beware of a false peace-the kind that promises a better opportunity, but which ends in the destruction of peace. Such is peace as the world gives it.
Because we refuse to accept that false peace, because we refuse to come down from our cross and join in their false peace based on injustice, we bring down upon our heads their violence and their hate. But we cannot expect the world to treat us differently than it treated Our Lord.
Peace for us means a right conscience, not a dictatorship of the powerful; it means the tranquillity of order, not the overthrow of a just society; it means loving our enemies, not despising them; it means something in the inside of a person's soul, not something external.
We must beware, then, of concluding a false peace, of selling the Savior for thirty pieces of silver because he does not make us rich; of denying him before others because of the ridicule of maidservants; of sleeping during hours of great need; and above all else, of stepping down from the Cross, even after two hours and fifty-nine minutes of the world's crucifixion.
We must be prepared to suffer scorn, if for no other reason than because we are peacemakers; we must ever be ready to be hated by the world, for Our Lord told us we would be hated because of him. We must stay until "it is finished," even though that staying makes our fellowmen hate us.
This life is not a victory; this life is a war, and God hates peace in those who are destined for war!
from the Cross and the Beatitudes —Lessons on Love and Forgiveness by Fulton J. Sheen pp.78-79