7th Sunday of Easter, Year C
Acts 7:55-60 Revelation 22:12-14.16-17. 20 John 17:20-26
Theme: Unity in Christendom
As we celebrate today the seventh Sunday of Easter, an event that happened to me a few weeks ago came to mind. 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 a family of five children and apart from the one child who invited me to the house; the other four were of other denominations.
After praying for the man, I told the children that the next thing was to take their father to hospital. This advice of mine did not go down well with the eldest son, hence, he declined. According to him, he would rather prefer to take his father to his church, rather than a hospital. And there was a great confusion amongst the children. This was because it was obvious that the father needed urgent medical attention. I did make it clear to them that after praying, that it was necessary for him to be taken to the hospital. It took a long time to convince the eldest son that what their father needed at that time was urgent medical attention. Sincerely, on his part he had a very strong argument that it was God who heals and not the medical doctor. And of course, he was correct. However, to convince him, I had to help him understand that God also use human agents to bring forth healing.
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 lives, in our families, in our churches, places of work etc.
Even though we are all Christians, the different doctrines we profess have divided us more than uniting us. We tend to ascribe to things that divide us more than things that bring about unity. This is why the invitation of Jesus today in the gospel must be taken seriously; for he knew that his followers will experience such division and he prayed for us. Therefore, we should give less attention to that which divides us who are God’s people.
As children of God our lives are supposed to be shining examples 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 today. We have to learn to let go self-interest. We should be guided by the 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. We have to try to accommodate people of different faith, especially if it does not endanger anyone’s life.
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, at our places of work, and in the communities we live. Peace be with you! May almighty God bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen. Peace be with you.