“That they might be one as We are one “
These words spoken by Jesus remind us that unity is part and parcel of being a follower of Jesus.
They remind us that working towards unity is an essential responsibility of all of us.
Jesus wants the best for us so he wants us to have...
unity in our families,
unity in our society.
and unity among all those who call themselves Christian.
God wants us and calls us to be of one mind and one heart.
We live in a very divided world.
That’s no surprise to anyone in this Church.
Washington is so divided that nothing gets done, our country is poorly served, and both sides blame each other.
Our society is becoming more and more polarized on all kinds of issues, important fundamental issue,s which mold and shape our society.
Even our Church often appears divided between liberals and conservatives.
Most sadly the Body of Christ itself is divided into countless denominations which continually give up on building communion when they cannot find common ground on an issue.
I read on the internet that during the depression a man... went to Knoxville for some business and for the first time saw a refrigerator which made ice in the summer.
He returned to his little church in the hills of Appalachia and told his friends, some believed him and some didn’t and before you knew it the church split over the issue and a new Church was founded called the “No Ice in the Summer Baptist Church.”
In a world so divided such as ours you can understand why people ask themselves if unity is possible.
Our faith teaches us that working for unity is indeed possible and important because God himself is one.
That’s what the word unity means to make things one.
And because God is one there is only one truth.
What’s true for you is true for me and what’s true for me is true for you.
We don’t live in our own worlds with our own truths no matter what some would say.
Truth is not ours to create rather it is ours embrace.
This error is one of the biggest obstacles to the unity that God longs for us to have.
Many believe that truth depends not on God but on each and everyone’s personal opinions.
For them truth is not based on God’s will or on natural law but on what we believe.
Pope Benedict called this belief the dictatorship of relativism.
Those who subscribe to relativism believe everything is relative to themselves.
They posit that there is no common or ultimate truth.
This error goes against everything thing revealed to us by God and causes our society great harm.
Put simply We don’t make the truth... God does.
How can we work toward the unity in a world so divided?
How can we make our homes, our families, our society, and our Church more united as God would have us do?
The first and most important thing we need to do is humbly seek to understand God’s truth and God’s will.
All of us have an obligation to read the scriptures and to study the living tradition of the Church and once we have done so to humbly submit to it.
After having tried to discern God’s will and surrender to it when differences arise we must listen to each other and respect each other.
Especially when different people see the same reality in different ways.
Unity is not something that just happens.
Sometimes, most of the time, in fact unity doesn’t just happen, it takes effort and patience and humility.
Experience has proved to us that friendship and relationships built on trust and respect are much more fertile grounds for unity that bitterness and discord.
Let’s put down our boxing gloves and let’s listen to each other
Let us respect those who look at things differently
Let us listen to them and patiently share our understanding God’s will and God’s truth with them.
Jesus knew that unity would not be easy to create so He gave his Body the Church the Ministry of Peter or his successor the Pope.
Catholics have the consolation of knowing that when all else fails, when a common understanding of truth cannot be found we can turn to Peter or his successor the Pope and ask for his help.
Jesus said you are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church.
The Petrine ministry guarantees the unity of the Church
Peter has the final word.
As St. Ambrose said. “Where there is Peter, there is the Church
This is an incredible gift which keeps our Church from splitting over and over the again.
Let us not give up on building a united society.
Let us discern God’s will and God’s plan for ourselves and our Church and our world.
Let us humbly submit to God’s plan
Let us patiently refrain from hitting each other over the head when we don’t agree on things.
The challenge of unity, a communion of heart and mind, to work for.
For as we heard in the Scriptures Jesus longs for us to be one as He and the Father are one.
Happy Mother’s Day