Today is the seventh Sunday of Easter, Year C. As we celebrate today the seventh Sunday of Easter. In some places the ascension of the Lord which was celebrated on Thursday will be shifted to today. However, our homily for this Sunday if for the seventh Sunday of Easter.
An event that happened to me a few weeks ago came to my mind. Looking at the Gospel reading of today, Jesus prays for the unity of his people. I was invited by a family to visit their father who was sick, by one of the children who was a Catholic like their father. It was family with five children, the other four belonged to other denominations.
At the proper time we prayed together. After praying I told the children that the next thing was to take their father to church. The eldest son however, reclined, no! we will rather take him to our church. And there was a great confusion amongst the children. This was because it was obvious that the father needed medical attention. I did make it clear to them that after praying what was necessary was to take their father to hospital. But we had a difficult time to convince the eldest son that what their father needed was medical attention.
He had a strong in the argument that it was God who heals and not the medical doctor. To convince him of how the role the human persons in the various capacities participate in the ways of God took me about one hour. On my way back I was reflecting on the challenges facing us as Christians and people with different doctrines. This is spoken about in the Gospel reading. Jesus prays for unity of the Church, the unity of his people. You will agree with me that wherever there is division it is impossible to find peace and unity in such a place. When we talk about this divisive spirit, it is not something strange, but common in our life and in families, churches, places of work etc.
Even though we are all Christians, the different doctrines are taken to be divisive. We go for that which divides us. It is the invitation of the gospel today however that we should always go for that which brings us together. We should give less attention for that which divides us who are God’s people.
As children of God our life is supposed to be an example to those who do not know God. Otherwise it becomes more difficult for those who do not know God to come to God through the conviction of our witness or to embrace our way of life. We have all it takes to bring forth this unity that Jesus prays for. We have to learn to let go self-interest. We should be guided by common good. By doing this we can talk of unity, togetherness and peace. Then there will be joy and happiness. Let us go for things that matter in unifying us as a peaceful people under God. We should disregard things that emphasize division.
As we continue to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost let us pray that God will grant us the graces we need to cooperate with him in building peace wherever we find ourselves, in our families, places of work, and in the communities we live.
Peace be with you.