(This is Neil) All of the material can be found here. Yesterday, the Pope received an ecumenical delegation of the Lutheran Church in Finland and said:
The Second Vatican Council committed the Catholic Church “irrevocably to following the path of the ecumenical venture, thus heeding the Spirit of the Lord who teaches us to interpret carefully the ‘signs of the times’” (Ut Unum Sint, 3). This is the path that the Catholic Church has wholeheartedly embraced since that time. The Churches of East and West, both of whose traditions are present in your country, share a real, if still imperfect, communion. This is a motive to regret the troubles of the past, but it is surely also a motive which spurs us to ever greater efforts at understanding and reconciliation, so that our brotherly friendship and dialogue may yet blossom into a perfect, visible unity in Christ Jesus.
You mentioned in your address the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, now ten years old, which is a concrete sign of the brotherhood rediscovered between Lutherans and Catholics. In this context, I am pleased to note the recent work of the Nordic Lutheran-Catholic dialogue in Finland and Sweden on questions deriving from the Joint Declaration. It is greatly to be hoped that the text resulting from the dialogue will contribute positively to the path which leads to the restoration of our lost unity.
Once again, I am pleased to express my gratitude for your perseverance for these twenty-five years of pilgrimage together. They demonstrate your respect for the Successor of Peter as well as your good faith and desire for unity through fraternal dialogue. It is my fervent prayer that the various Christian Churches and ecclesial communities which you represent may build on this sense of brotherhood as we persevere in our pilgrimage together.
Theme: Witness through Sharing Stories
Text – What are you discussing with each other while you walk along? (Luke 24:17)
Jeremiah 1:4-8 Go to all to whom I send you
Psalm 98 Sing to the Lord a new song
Acts 14:21-23 They strengthened the souls of the disciples
Luke 24:13-17a What are you discussing with each other while you walk along?
Sharing our stories is a powerful way in which we give witness to our faith in God. Listening to one another with respect and consideration allows us to encounter God in the very person with whom we are sharing.
The reading from Jeremiah offers us a powerful witness of God’s call to the prophet. He is to share what he has received, and so allow God’s Word to be heard and lived out.
This call to proclaim God’s Word is also experienced by the disciples in the early Church, as witnessed to in the reading from Acts.
Our psalm allows us to sing to God with a spirit of praise and thanksgiving.
Today’s gospel passage presents a Jesus who enlightens our blindness and dispels our disillusionment. He helps us to understand our stories within the one unfolding plan of God.
During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we listen to the faith stories of other Christians in order to encounter God in the variety of ways God’s very self is revealed to us. We are aware also that we can share with others through the virtual reality of technology. Modern means of communication can help us share more widely, and so create a community that is broader and more extensive than the purely physical.
In listening with attentiveness we grow in faith and love. In spite of the diversity of our personal and collective witness, we find ourselves intertwined in the one story of God’s love for us revealed in Jesus Christ.
God of history, we thank you for all who have shared their story of faith with us and so have given witness to your presence in their lives. We praise you for the variety of our stories both as individuals and churches. In these stories we see the unfolding of the one story of Jesus Christ. We pray for the courage and the conviction to share our faith with those with whom we come into contact, and so allow the message of your Word to spread to all.
1. Are you “gossiping the Gospel” or just gossiping?
2. How open are you or your church to be drawn into the stories of others?
3. How open are you to share with others your stories of faith, and so give witness to God’s presence in your personal experiences of life and of death?
4. Are you aware of the enormous potential for good that modern means of communication offer the Church today?
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