Our homily last Sunday, based on the Second Reading (Eph 4: 1-6) focused on unity. As Father Newfoundland pointed out, there are at least 12 references to unity in that reading.
Take a gander:
Brothers and sisters:
I, a prisoner for the Lord,
urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,
with all humility and gentleness, with patience,
bearing with one another through love,
striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:
one body and one Spirit,
as you were also called to the one hope of your call;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism;
one God and Father of all,
who is over all and through all and in all.
In God's inestimable timing, this reading and the homily came at just the right time for me to hear it and apply it to an area that needs attention in my life. You see, I tend toward the sin of pride. This comes out in many ways, but one of them is in thinking - believing, actually, with every fibre of my being - that I am right, and since I am right, you must be wrong, which makes you sadly uninformed. I don't mean you, dear reader, but rather the others out there who don't agree with me on any given issue.
Health care, taxes, education, and the economy aside, most of my concerns are faith-based. Most of my life's business and activity is wrapped up in Catholicism. It provides the framework of who I am, and so much of what I think about, talk about, and care about, are matters of faith. Which, of course, means that my foolhardy pride and misguided right-ness are also wrapped up in matters of faith - ie. Catholicism.
When the conversation rolls around to church architecture, music during Mass, appropriate attire for attending church, clerical orientation (compass-wise, not lifestyle-wise, though that too, is a hot topic, isn't it?) all bring out firm and oft-expressed opinions. I can be stubborn and illogical, argumentative and insensitive. I am often unkind, and I seldom stop to consider the other person's view because I know I'm right, and being right is what's important.
How is that worthy of living in a manner worthy of the call I have received as a child of God? How is it humble, and gentle, or patient? How does it preserve unity, or share our one Lord, our one faith? How am I remembering that my God is the God of all? Is it more important that I be right, or that I share the Love of God the Father, focus on our hope of eternal life through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour?
I have resolved that the next time someone expresses an opinion different from mine, or has a different expression of faith than mine, I will try to build up the Church of God on earth by seeking unity rather than division. I will look for what we have in common, for that is where God is present - not in the songs chosen for the liturgy or the language used during the Mass.
As the Gospel reading for the day (Jesus feeds the 5,000 with five loaves and two fish) reminds us, it is the work of Jesus to multiply what we offer Him. I pray for the grace to be able to offer Him love and patience and gentleness for the sake of God who is in us all, through us all, and in us all.
Following the example of St. Therese the Little Flower, I desire as many souls as possible to know the love of God, and to be with Him in eternity.
August 16, 2012