Sunday, May 12, 2024

Reflection for the 7th Sunday of Easter: Let Them Be One

As the Seventh Sunday of Easter approaches, Catholics around the world prepare to delve into the profound spiritual themes presented in the liturgy for Year B. This day offers a moment of reflection on the readings that speak to the heart of Christian faith and the journey towards unity with God.

The first reading from Acts 1:15-17, 20A, 20C-26, presents the narrative of the Apostles choosing Matthias to replace Judas, emphasizing the importance of apostolic witness and continuity in the Church's mission. It is a reminder of the Church's resilience and the unbroken line of witness that stretches back to the very beginnings of the Christian faith.

The Responsorial Psalm, Psalm 103, is a poetic expression of praise, acknowledging God's mercy and the vastness of His love. It is a call to remember the kindnesses of the Lord, who rules over all from His throne in heaven.

The second reading from 1 John 4:11-16 invites the faithful to reflect on the profound love of God and the call to love one another deeply. This mutual love confirms God's presence among us and perfects His love through our actions. It is a powerful message that challenges believers to live out the commandment of love in tangible ways.

The Gospel reading from John 17:11B-19 is particularly moving, as it recounts Jesus' prayer for His disciples. He prays not for their removal from the world but for their protection from evil. Jesus asks for their sanctification and unity, mirroring the unity between Him and the Father. This passage invites the faithful to consider their own place in the world and their commitment to living out the Gospel values.

The themes for this Sunday revolve around leadership, divine love, and Jesus' prayer for His disciples. They call for a commitment to reject evil and live lives of service, to be united with God in love, and to be consecrated to the Good News.

In reflection, the Seventh Sunday of Easter invites the faithful to ponder their relationship with God and their role in the world. It is a time to ask oneself: How does my life reflect my belonging to God? How do I embody the love that God has for me in my interactions with others? And how do I contribute to the unity and sanctification that Jesus prayed for?

The greatest scandal in Christianity may be the sex abuse scandal perpetuated by Catholics, Protestants and Eastern Non-Catholic Christians, however, in reality the biggest scandal is disunity. Yes, sex abuse is evil and sinful. It is a crime, but in context to today's Gospel we must concede that the greatest scandal is disuinty. Jesus wanted His followers to be ONE. To be sanctified in Truth. Unfortunately we do not see this today. Since the Great Schism and Protestant Reformation, there have been huge divides in Christianity that are inexcusable.  We have many rites in the Eastern Church who refuse to be united to Peter or the Papacy. They argue against the Holy Spirit proceding the Father and the Son and other details of doctrine that have been established since the first century. Then we have the numerous Protestant sects and denonminations each claiming to be the "One True Church" presenting different and contradicting doctrines. In many instances, they subtract main doctrines and Scripture in order to push their propaganda. 

This is not what Jesus Christ the Lord who is One with the Father and the Holy Spirit wanted.  He wanted unity!  One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism as Scripture says!  Because of this disunity we have seen a rise in secularism and other idealogies that defy reason. How can Christianity be true if it is divide? How can we trust a faith that has different groups with different views and interpretations of the Bible?  How can we believe groups that claim to be Christian why demoting Christ into "a god," editing John 1:1 to say Jesus is "a god" and that Jesus is Michael the archangel?  Jesus is the Truth. The Church is ONE body. She cannot be different bodies attached to each other.  We must work hard to be united again. The Eastern Christians who broke from Rome must reevaluate history, particular Church history and see that the Pope has always been Peter and the Vicar of Christ.  They must study theology deeply and see that the teachings of the Roman Church have never changed and are consistent since the first century.  Protestants must learn history and see that a rogue priest named Martin Luther fathered their divorce from the Catholic Church. They must learn that their sects were founded by European White men and that their views contradict the Bible and what Christians taught and believed since the first century.  

As we approach this sacred time, let us embrace the messages of the readings and carry them into our daily lives, striving to live in the image of the love and unity that Christ has shown us. May this reflection serve as a guide for personal meditation and communal worship, leading to a deeper understanding and a stronger commitment to our faith journey.

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