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President's Reflection

"Jesus in our midst”

“MAY THEY ALL BE ONE”

SCRIPTURE. JOHN 17: Jesus prays for our unity in this chapter.

Verse 20: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one”.

DEVOTION: Jesus prays that we will ”become completely one”. (vs. 23). 

Jesus knows that this will make the Gospel more readily believed.

Our history shows that disunity makes the Gospel harder for people to hear.

A story:

Recently I was invited into an international meeting of the group Focolare, with the theme: “Dare to be one!”

With a charism of unity, this group traces their origins to a young girl in war- torn Italy who gathered with friends to read the Bible and found her calling, as they read John 17 together.

This is often the way renewal comes to the Church! Yes?

A faithful soul, in this case Chiara Lubich, reads the living Word of God and finds vocation, which is then honoured, through thick and thin!

God’s grace and Chiara’s faithfulness to her call has led to a movement for unity that brought us all together on zoom from every continent, more than seventy years later!

(It was late at night for me but I felt less sleepy when folk from the USA told me they were up at 4 am to join in!)

Our conversation was all about the importance of our unity, our reconciled diversity.

As in the Byzantine painting (right), with “Jesus in our midst” to guide us.

In my role as President of the NCCA I see many instances of this movement of the Holy Spirit, encouraging our deeper unity in a dangerously divided world.

The leaders of the Days of Prayer and Fasting have become friends on this same journey, thanks be to God.

 The Holy Trinity icon - Rublev

Our unity requires that we bend a little towards each other, much as the figures in Rublev’s famous icon of the Holy Trinity, (left) bend towards each other. 

So, then the Cross of one is our Cross to carry too; the joy of one is a joy we share; the longings of one are our longings too!

Thus together, as the saints convey, we humbly trust that God always has more to teach us and we always have more to learn!

This movement of the Spirit is showing us that our deeper unity is needed for the healing of many divisions.

One of our Focolare friends gets ready each morning saying to himself: “... today I want to meet Jesus”. 

As the people and the circumstances of the day unfold, the expected and unexpected, he prays as constantly as he can, in the name of Jesus.

“Abide in me “Jesus says to us in John 15 and every day!

Jesus is our unity. The way forward is for each of us to stay as close to Jesus as we can. Then practice the discipline of asking ourselves about our proposed words and actions-“will this build unity?” 

A PRAYER:

Dear Jesus, you pray in us “may they all be one”.

We ask for your abiding grace, so your prayer in us is what people see in our daily living.

Dear Jesus, may our unity make the Gospel easier for people to hear.

We seek your discernment so that we can see how better we might be messengers of reconciliation.

Dear Jesus, may your healing power keep making us whole.

We hear the cry for love of those upon the earth with us now.

As we listen, so we now pray - “Jesus have mercy”.

 Watch: What The World Needs Now Choir mp4

 

Dear Jesus, these prayers and all that is in our hearts, some of it still making its way into words, we gather in your holy name.

AMEN.

Devotion by Bishop Philip Huggins 

NCCA President 

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