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THE BEGINNING OF ECUMENISM

Father Francis's picture
Twenty-sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Zech. 8:20-23 & Lk. 9:51-58

Zechariah looked forward to a day when Jerusalem would be a source of blessing, not only for the Jews but for pagans as well. That hope has been fulfilled through the person of Jesus Christ in the Church.

Jesus knew that He was heading for a showdown with His enemies during the feast of the Passover in Jerusalem. He might have tried to avoid a confrontation but that would merely have delayed completion of His Mission. Messengers were sent ahead to inform the villages along the way that He would be passing through: one was a Samaritan community but they refused to give Him passage - the Samaritans and the Jews were enemies.

The Apostles James and John made the mistake of wanting to punish that village for not welcoming Jesus. Would they not have done better to have encouraged Jesus, with all His ability and power, to try and convert them to share the blessings of the Jews and to worship the one true God in Jerusalem? That would have been more positive thinking on their part! He chose a detour rather than making an issue of how the Samaritans had responded to His request.

We Catholics can make the mistake of assuming that the Holy Spirit limits His attention to us. We forget that the Spirit lives and moves wherever He wills and that He can work just as effectively through a pagan as He does through a Christian. Yet there are many proofs of this.

While the Church has been given the great gift of the sacraments as a means of spiritual life we are called to be a source of blessing to the whole world. To be a Catholic is to have a universal outlook, to go beyond the desire to save our own soul to a concern for all of God's people.

Lord Jesus, may we never underestimate our importance in God's plan, because Your Father wants to make us, through our prayers and sacrifices, a channel of His grace to the whole world. The salvation and well-being of many people depends on our prayers and sacrifices.

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