Thursday, 7th Week of Easter
“So that they may be one, as we are one…”
Jesus’ prayer for Christian unity is much more relevant to the church in the modern world than it was to the church of the early Christians. The fragmentation of the Christian church in our time has been described as a scandal to the world; it is contrary to Jesus’ plan for his Church. How can Christians preach love and forgiveness to the world when they cannot love and forgive one another? How can Christians preach reconciliation and peace in the world when they cannot be reconciled and live in peace with one another? Lack of unity among Christians remains one of the greatest obstacles in the way of Christian witnessing to an unbelieving world. No wonder Jesus prayed that we all may be one.
We know that the Church, while holy, is still made up of people on a pilgrim. We know that none of us is perfect yet. That means that there will be conflict and disunity among us. There will be disagreement among us, even though all of us may be trying to follow Jesus.
What is important is not that we should avoid conflict, or pretend that our community is perfect because we never disagree. What matters is that we are committed to reconciliation… we are committed to unconditional forgiveness. It is really impossible to avoid disagreements and differences, disputes and dissents, misunderstandings and hurt feelings. What is important is that even when these things happen, we are always willing to dialogue and to reconcile – to ask forgiveness and to extend forgiveness. Is this hard? YES, it can be very hard. But it is what Jesus has commanded us to do.
We must not consider our differences as a hindrance or obstacle to building up our Christian Community. We must learn to respect, accept, and even value our differences. We must realize that even though we have so much differences, yet, we are bonded by one vision and one mission. We are united in our love for Christ.
If only we could respect one another, if only we could respect each other’s individuality and uniqueness, if only we could respect our differences, we could even use them to further our mission of establishing God’s kingdom. We could even use them at the service of our Christian community. So, let us be bonded by one mission, the mission of Jesus: to build the kingdom of God. Let us promote the value of unity in diversity.