And that’s what this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has to be about. If we don’t feel each other’s pain, in the church, between churches, or between individuals, we’ll get nowhere. If we don’t strive to seek reconciliation, despite the pain, despite the obstacles, we won’t attain it.
— Bill Cork, Tischreden
From the Graymoor Ecumenical & Interreligious Institute
Building Christian Unity with Jesus in Our Midst (John 13:14).
Deuteronomy 30: 15-20, Then you shall live and become numerous.
Psalm 133, How very good it is… when kindred live together in unity.
1 Corinthians 12: 12-31, God arranged the members in the body.
John 13: 1-15, You also ought to wash one another’s feet.
As the psalmist proclaims, unity is attractive. Because Christ is among us, all Christians have an obligation to harmonize the daily life of their communities more closely with the spirit of the gospel. Washing the feet of his disciples on the evening before he died, Jesus left us a specific example of Christian behavior towards our neighbor. In 1 Corinthians 12, Saint Paul, writing of the need to care for each other, adds the fact that in the Holy Spirit everyone is different, although part of the same body. The word of God invites us, as brothers and sisters in the church, to accept the concrete task of making the church grow in order to be of service to the world. Participation in the life of the Holy Trinity is not a simple affirmation of an article of faith. The gospel urges us to commit ourselves daily to the ecumenical task, so that the church better reflects the trinitarian communion. In the one God, whom we confess along with our sisters and brothers in other monotheistic faiths, is there not for us an example to follow in the love shared between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit? Among the members of the church, moving forward with Christ implies recognizing that a positive action, however modest, accomplished in community has more value than one made in isolation. To wash the feet of one’s sisters and brothers is more than a simple gesture, it is opening one’s heart in faithfulness to Jesus who bids us serve the one church, of which we desire to be both the living stones and the builders.
Eternal God, united in the name of your son, Jesus Christ and in the presence of your consoling Spirit, we commit ourselves to build a Christian community with heart and enthusiasm renewed in the fire of your love. With those whom we encounter in daily life, may we practice ecumenism in the image of your Son, who washed the feet of his disciples, so that together we may enter into new life in his presence. Amen