(This is Neil) The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity begins today. The Pope has said (for translation, see here):
Our proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus will be much more credible and effective the more that we are united in his love, as true brothers. Thus, I invite parishes, religious communities, ecclesial movements and associations to pray unceasingly, in a special way during Eucharistic Celebrations, for the complete unity of Christians.
This week’s main biblical text is Luke 24. The material was prepared by an ecumenical group from Scotland brought together by Action of Churches Together in Scotland at the invitation of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference. All of the material, including an outline for an Ecumenical Worship Service, can be found here; I plan to excerpt the daily reflections on the blog. Please pray with me.
Theme: Witness through Celebrating Life
Text – Why do you look for the living among the dead?
Genesis 1:1, 26-31 God saw all that he had made, and indeed, it was very good
Psalm 104:1-24 O Lord, how manifold are your works
1 Corinthians 15:12-20 If the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised
Luke 24:1-5 Why do you look for the living among the dead?
Our journey of Christian unity is firmly rooted in our common belief that in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we celebrate not only the life God has given us but the offer of new life through Jesus’ conquering death once and for all. As we meet together during this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we witness to our shared faith by our concern for the life of all. Life is God’s gift to us, and the more we support and celebrate life, the more we give witness to the one whose generous love brought us to life initially.
The reading from the book of Genesis reminds us of the creative power and energy of God. It is this power and energy that St Paul encounters in experiencing Jesus’ resurrection.
He challenges the people of Corinth to put their total trust in the Risen Lord and his offer of new life.
The psalm continues this theme as it proclaims the glory of God’s creation.
Our gospel passage challenges us to look for new life in the face of a culture of death that our world frequently presents to us. It encourages us to trust in Jesus’ power, and so to experience life and healing.
Today, we thank God for all that shows God’s love for us: for all of creation; for brothers and sisters in all parts of the world; for communion in love, for forgiveness and healing and for life eternal.
God our creator, we praise you for all who give witness to their faith by their words and actions. In living life to the full we encounter your loving presence in the many experiences you offer us. May our common witness of celebrating life unite us in blessing you, the author of all life.
1. To what extent do your own witness and the witness of your church celebrate life?
2. Will others know from your witness that Christ has been raised from the dead?
3. What do you see as the areas of growth in your life?
4. Are there things of the past that the churches cling to which ought to be laid to rest because of a new ecumenical consciousness?
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