Homily – January 19, 2020

This day is the beginning of the week of prayer for Christian lead by Unity. The Christian family throughout the world does not have a good history of family love and unity. Yet Jesus prayed for unity among his followers; Father may they be one as we are one may they be one is us that the world may believe that you have sent me. St. Paul prayed that the early Christians communities preserve the unity of the Spirit in a bond of peace.

Things have not worked out that way. There were divisions in the early centuries of the church; divisions healed by church councils. But the first great family feud was in the 12th century when our family split between the east and the west, the east following the oriental churches led by the Patriarch Constantinople; the west following the churches faithful to Rome.

The second great split was the Protestant Reformation led by the German monk Martin Luther. He called for a reformation of the abuses of the Church of Rome. Since then there have been other splits within the reforming churches both in Europe and in North America. Just recently there was a split in the Methodist Church in the U.S over the issue of accepting Gays and Lesbians into the Church.

In our Catholic Church we have divisions over people’s understanding of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, especially in the ways Mass and the Sacraments are celebrated. Some, not many, want to put things back the way they were years ago, Mass in Latin, Gregorian chants and the priest with his back to the people. Some people find Pope Francis too easy on people.

But there is way we Christians can be one; One in our respect for other people’s faith and convictions. One in our willingness to let go of ingrained prejudices of other faiths. One in our efforts to oppose anti-Semitism. One in our co-operation to work for social justice, such as affordable housing, a living wage, One in our willingness to accept refugees and immigrants to Canada. This is a oneness that bears witness to our faith in Jesus Christ.

Let our common prayer be, not just for this week but for every week; May we all be one in being faithful to the teachings of Jesus Christ.