Universalis, About this blog

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Christian Disunity and the Good News of the Kingdom

Today's Second and Gospel Readings jumped out at me because my wife has just told my children that she is not Catholic. They haven't asked too many questions about it yet, but it will come, and it won't be easy to navigate these waters.
 I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chlo'e's people that there is quarreling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, "I belong to Paul," or "I belong to Apol'los," or "I belong to Cephas," or "I belong to Christ." Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? .. For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.(1 Cor 1:10-13,17)
 Now when [Jesus] heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth he went and dwelt in Caper'na-um by the sea, in the territory of Zeb'ulun and Naph'tali, that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:
"The land of Zeb'ulun and the land of Naph'tali,
toward the sea, across the Jordan,
Galilee of the Gentiles --
the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light,
and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death
light has dawned."
From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zeb'edee and John his brother, in the boat with Zeb'edee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father, and followed him.
(Mt 4:12-23)
I don't think anyone can claim that St. Paul was only concerned about the unity among Corinthians, one congregation. Nor that it was a minor matter, nor that a unity in name only, or on a subset of beliefs and practices only. As the Lord prayed repeatedly,
 ".. that they may be one, even as we are one.. that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. .. that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me." (Jn 17)
It is important! These are heartfelt words of St. Paul and the Lord himself, and I am living them now! This unity is inextricably linked to the Good News that we should proclaim in how we live, how we follow Christ, and what we preach. Disunity casts a shadow upon the Good News, and it is a cause of great sorrow.

No comments: