Christians throughout the world pray for unity

The Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor has sent a Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to all brothers, sisters and friends o

Jan 11, 2019

By Bro Michael A. Perry, OFM, General Minister and Servant
The Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor has sent a Message for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to all brothers, sisters and friends of the Franciscan Family. In his letter, he wrote: Justice and only justice you shall pursue (Dt 16:20) is the theme that the Christian Communities of Indonesia have chosen for this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

It is a theme that is both honest and urgent. It is honest because, as the drafting committee stated in its letter introducing it, “Every year Christians across the world gather in prayer for growth in unity. We do this in a world where corruption, greed and injustice bring about inequality and division. Ours is a united prayer in a fractured world.” Indeed, our prayerful unity is “powerful.”

It is here that the urgency of this year’s theme confronts us. For whenever we open our eyes to the injustices that surround us – and also infect us since we, too, are sinners who groan for the full measure of God’s Reign in our world (cf. Rm 8: 19-21) – we cannot but hear the Lord calling us to follow in His footsteps and, together, continue His mission of bringing the Good News of God’s healing love to all His suffering children. As our sisters and brothers in Indonesia went on to state, “Christian communities in such an environment become newly aware of their unity as they join in a common concern and a common response to an unjust reality.”

At the same time, confronted by these injustices, we are obliged, as Christians, to examine the ways in which we are complicit. Only by heeding Jesus’s prayer ‘that they all may be one’ can we witness to living unity in diversity. It is through our unity in Christ that we will be able to combat injustice and serve the needs of its victims.

We do not have to look very far to see examples of such unity-in-action in our world. In fact, many of us are already engaged in it with sisters and brothers of other Christian communities, as together we confront the injustices of human trafficking in Asia, rare-earth strip-mining in Africa, deforestation in Latin America, systemic racism in North America, and the victimisation of refugees by resurgent nationalist ideologues in Europe.

Of course, we do not engage in the pursuit of justice as strangers to sin, for to make such a claim is to make a liar of our Lord (cf. 1 Jn 1:10). We do so as people who give freely what our Lord Himself has given freely to us (cf. Mt 10:8): the gifts of compassion and mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation, and the gift of our very selves poured out that others may know, in the very fabric of their lives, the full measure of God’s love for them. 

Note:
The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and the World Council of Churches have prepared resources in English, French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish:

--https://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/week-of-prayer/week-of-prayer

Source: ofm.org

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