Unity in the Light of Christ
Updated: Mar 6, 2021
A Seven year old girl was completing her history assignment. She was not able to find an answer for one of the questions. So she asked her mother: “Mom, how did The First World War begin?”
- Her mother who was a teacher answered her: “oh! that is in 1914, when Archduke Ferdinand was assassinated by Siberian youth.”
- “Oh! No! That is not the reason behind that world war” quickly her dad who was also a teacher corrected her. “It was because during that time the social political system was corrupt, there was a real economic crisis and no jobs for people, the people were up against one another for their survival.”
- “But that is not what she is asking” Mom answered him back.
- “But you should teach her properly” Dad shouted in a loud voice.
- “She is only seven years old and don’t you think! I do not know how to teach my child,” was the angry response.
- “I am not saying that” father tried to calm down “But.” “You are never happy with what I do,” now both the parents were so angry with one another… and words went to and from and so is the noise of rattling of dishes and pounding on the sofa cushion. On seeing all this family drama the little girl wrote in her note book “Now I know how the world war begins?"
This week we celebrated as the week of Christian unity. A week where Christians all over the world are called to pray that we may be united in Christ, our savior. Well last time when I checked how many Christian denominations are there? You may be surprised with the number. - David Barret, a Religion demographer, identified that there are more than 23,000 Christian denominations. All of them claim Christ as their savior, master, and the source of inspiration. How can we unite so many denominations under one umbrella? As it is said that charity begins at home, so for me unity also begins at home. Second Vatican council proclaims that Family is a domestic church. Today we call ourselves Christian, followers of Christ; can we truly call our home, make our family a domestic church – a family where there is peace love and unity?
In fact the whole inspiration for Christian unity comes from the famous prayer of Jesus, - a prayer that he prayed before he carried the cross, in his long farewell speech to his disciples: "Father that they may be one as you and I are one.” Let the prayer be our prayer today – Lord let all of us be one in you.
There is a famous Indian story about Teaching Wisdom. A famous Guru wanted to teach his disciples about God’s beautiful creation. On a bright moonlit night, he took his disciples to the temple courtyard and silently pointed towards the bright moon with his wooden stick. Then he silently left the place. His educated disciples were captivated by Guru’s wooden stick and the Guru’s shadow that fell on the ground. Thereafter, they began prolonged discussions and debates on the significance of Guru’s wooden stick and the Guru’s shadow. Suddenly, they began to see a newcomer, an illiterate disciple stood far in silence and enjoyed watching the beautiful moon. Like that Guru who showed the beautiful Full moon, in the Gospel Jesus proclaims "Time is fulfilled. Repent and believe in the Good News." He invites others to follow him. The disciples left everything behind and followed him.
But after the resurrection, when the Gospel was being preached to other communities, a division erupted among the Christians. This is what St. Paul rustles with, He cannot bear to see to whom he has preached the Gospel fight with one another. They are like those disciples who failed to see the moon light and began discussing about the dogma, creed, language, and their origins, to whom they belong to, and so on. St. Paul condemns such a narrow minded attitude again preaches to them – We all belong to Jesus, the true light of the world. – in another letter he says – let us become the children of the light.
Today I would like to end my reflection with a popular hymn written by Cardinal Newman. It describes his search for the light – the right way to follow Jesus. He wrote this hymn, while returning from Italy to England, and young Newman fell ill and nearly died. During those dark sickly moments he wrote: “Lead Kindly light, amid the encircling gloom, Lead thou me on! The night is dark, and I am far from home, Lead thou me on; Keep thou my feet; I do not ask to see the distant scene – one step enough for me: Lead thou me on"
As we continue to celebrate this Eucharist – a thanksgiving sacrifice, a sacrament of love and unity - may help to enlighten our minds and hearts to become the messengers of peace, love and unity. Amen.
Reflections by Rev. Wilson Andrade, CSC