Wednesday, May 23, 2007

United as one?

Seventh Week of Easter
Wednesday, 5-23-2007
Mass Readings:
Acts 20:28-38
John 17:11b-19

“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one".

Division. Infighting. Character assassination. These are typical practices today and in many cases they are celebrated. Few seem to give a rip about healing the rifts that cause so much pain. Unfortunately, this is true in the diverse Christian traditions.

I grew up in a very fundamentalist tradition. Needless to say that there were a number of folks I grew up with who were convinced I was doomed and going to hell when I became a Catholic. Then I dropped the bomb that I was going to study for the priesthood. For a few of my old colleagues, I had joined ranks with Lucifer himself! How sad.

We see daily how Christians war against each other. If you don't adhere to this group or that group then you are doomed. What gives? Sadly enough, we have the same thing happening in house here in the Catholic Church. We have so many groups who scream that They are the "true" Catholics. Web pages can be viral in nature and some Catholics use the world wide web to savage anyone and everything he/she does not agree with. What gives? When did it become okay to actively pursue division?

Jesus calls us today to work together. He didn't say that we would always agree with one another and sing Kumbaya. Jesus calls us to be one as he is one with the Father. Let's face it. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are as One as possible. Jesus wants us to be that close to one another. So why do we relish in creating division? Are we so self centered that we have to turn to attacking one another? We need to stop pointing fingers at Protestants being divided and clean up our own house.

It is natural for us to disagree with one another. It is natural to get angry with one another. However, it is sin to openly seek division. We cannot be united if we turn to the world wide web, television and print media to launch attacks against those we do not agree with. That is not what Jesus would do. If we are serious about being a Christian then each of us will strive to be in the same room together and work together. That doesn't mean we will always live in harmony. I am not a Pollyanna. I do not believe that we will always hold hands and be at peace. Human nature will always leave the door open for division. However, it is sin to openly seek to separate our self from one another or to disparage one another. Division is not what Jesus calls us to in today's Gospel.

We may never live in perfect harmony and unity. As long as two people have two different ideas there will be a natural tension. If we deliberately seek to create division, then we deny who and whose we are. Faith in Jesus demands that we seek reconciliation and not division.