Jer 31:10-13 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion.
Ps 122 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: May they prosper who love you.
1 Jn 4:16b-21 Those who say, “I love God,” and hate their brothers or sisters are liars.
Jn 17:20-23 That they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me.
For over a decade Chemin Neuf, an international Catholic community with an ecumenical vocation, has been present in Latvia, with both Catholic and Lutheran members. Together they experience the joy that comes from fellowship in Christ, as well as the pain of disunity. As a sign of this division, they place an empty paten and chalice (a Eucharistic plate and cup) on the altar during evening prayer. Their experience inspired this reflection.
Division among Christians is an obstacle to evangelization. The world cannot believe that we are Jesus’ disciples while our love for one another is incomplete. We feel the pain of this division when we cannot receive together the body and blood of Christ at the Eucharist, the sacrament of unity.
The source of our joy is our common life in Christ. To live our life of fellowship every day is to welcome, love, serve, pray and witness with Christians from diverse traditions. It is the pearl of great value given to us by the Holy Spirit.
The night before his death, Jesus prayed for unity and love amongst us. Today we raise our hands and pray with Jesus for Christian unity. We pray for the bishops, ministers and members of all churches. We pray that the Holy Spirit will lead us all on this path of unity.
How do we regard Christians of other churches, and are we prepared to ask forgiveness for prejudice towards them?
What can each of us do to decrease division among Christians?
Lord Jesus, who prayed that we might all be one, we pray to you for the unity of Christians according to your will. May your Spirit enable us to experience the suffering caused by division, to see our sin and to hope beyond all hope. Amen.