First Reading: Acts 22:30; 23:6-11; Psalm: 16. R. v. 1; Gospel: Jn 17:20-26
THAT WE MAY BE ONE
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
A lot of people believe religion is the bane of the society. People say this because of the many wrong doings prevalent in different churches and among different pastors. But a re-evaluation of this conventional opinion would reveal that religion in itself is something good. It is those who practice it that abuse it. As many are the churches in our society today, so are the doctrines they preach. This has divided us and made it difficult to censor and control what we preach. Conflict of beliefs is a big hindrance to unity and peace.
The fiery altercation that ensued between the Pharisees and the Sadducees in the first reading of today was about beliefs. The Pharisees believed in angels, spirit, and in the resurrection of the dead. But the Sadducees do not acknowledge all three. Paul was on trial for preaching on the resurrection of the dead. And so the Pharisees refuted Paul’s trial and demanded his release. Conversely, the other sect comprising the Sadducees insisted that Paul should be detained because he was preaching a wrong doctrine. This stirred up a hornet’s nest. Jesus knew what division could do which was why he prayed for the unity of his disciples and those who will believe in him through their words.
The stream of invective that exists among the churches of today is worrisome. Catholics are called idol worshippers. Anglicans see themselves as more prayerful than Catholics. While for Pentecostals, they are the only “born again” as far as Christianity is concerned. Even the doctrines we preach are so divisive and biased. This has created so much division among us. If God is love (1Jn 4:8), and if we truly serve him, then we should preach more of God and less of Church. We should focus more on what unites and not what divides us. Preaching Church may win us followers but will create enmity. This is not the kind of church Jesus prayed for.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, may our love for you unite us so that the world may know that we are your disciples. Amen.