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AN ECUMENICAL SPIRIT

Father Francis's picture
Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

James 4:13-17 & Mk. 9:38-40

Our life is a gift from God, a gift we must put it to good use. St. James describes it as ‘a mist that is here for a little while and then disappears.’ The older we get the more we realise the truth of his statement. Life passes so quickly. Our life is like a split second in comparison to eternal life. We make our plans but have no assurance that we will see them through. We may think we have many years to live only to be told we have cancer and have months to live. It is then that everything is put into perspective. We begin to ask ourselves what have I done with the life God gave me, am I ready to meet the Lord. How meaningful are the words of Job, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.”

The Gospel has a breadth and depth that transcends our narrow and petty prejudices. Such prejudices are often very subtle and to a large extent we may not be aware they exist within us. Nevertheless they can have the effect of making us determine where and when we think God is working. What right have we to lay down where and when God is working? God can work wherever and in whoever He wishes. Fortunately, He is in no way influenced by our prejudices. We can be like John and try to determine who is doing God's work and who isn't. The danger with this way of thinking is that it makes us harsh, intolerant and often ignorant of God’s work in others both within our Church and in the wider Christian community.

The truth is that in the Kingdom of God all are valued, all have a unique dignity and God continues to work in ways far beyond our judgements of what is from Him and what is not. God alone is responsible for the ecumenical spirit evident today in our Church and among other Christians. Despite our sinful prejudices we are called to join this mighty ecumenical work. God's call to all Christians is to spread the Gospel of love together.

Heavenly Father, You call us to love all people. You alone have the power to transcend division among us. Help us to recognize our complacency and our prejudices. Give us a repentant heart and a desire to work and pray that all your children may be one.

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