Our first reading today offers us a sense that disagreements and differences of opinion within our Church we might say are part & parcel of Apostolic Tradition. Obviously, they’re not quite that because Jesus does not desire us to quarrel with one another. But Jesus knew the Divine Church of God He established could not be without disagreement, as it is perpetuated and continued throughout the ages by human instruments. Many of our forefathers might have been holy and saintly, but they definitely weren’t perfect. This is the Glorious Church we’re a part of. We also know that there have been divisions which have separated us throughout the centuries. We know that many disagreements and differences of opinion have left us far from communion with one another. But we must desire unity with Christ and His Church which means we must desire (whether we have it or not) unity with one another. Caring for and loving one another is a great beginning. Jesus through God the Holy Spirit is trying, we must all be open to what He says to us. Today’s reflection and pondering for me is on my own desire for Christian unity.
If you’ve some of my other reflections, you’ll know that I am 13 years a Catholic Christian now. Jesus Christ found me when I was most in need of him. I didn’t begin my relationship with Him as a Catholic, it took me a lot of self-knowledge and visiting many Christian communities before I came to realize that my relationship with Christ and His Church was strengthened in the Catholic Christian Church and believe with my whole heart, mind and soul that our Church is the Church of Jesus & His Apostles BUT I also know Jesus is very much present with Christians in other Christian communities too. The Holy Spirit speaks to those who follow Christ. Having had these experiences of worshiping with Christians have made me a better Catholic Christian man and while I have had disagreements and I am well aware that we don’t always see eye to eye, we all do in many things and if we are going to preach and teach Jesus Christ throughout the world, we need to consider the many things we have in common and work from there. We must recognize and realize that it’s essential we extend Christian love to one another.
This is something that I try to surmise from the conversations I have with people in vocation work. If the men I meet with, men or women for that matter don’t get the essence of this fundamental Christian teaching, it’s hard to find or live our vocation. If we believe our vocation is to fix or change the Church or people, then this is a classic flaw and we need to go deeper. If we are more traditionally-minded or progressively-minded as Catholics and see our role to “convert” those who we see things differently from the way we do. I know I meet this when I meet people who think I should know that we don’t need more traditional priests or we don’t meet more “liberal” priests. Although I usually find myself listening to why the faithful think the way they do on these things – a person’s expression of their faith (traditional or otherwise) factors less into my consideration than their desire to serve the Lord faithfully, love people unconditionally, desire to understand people and lead and shepherd them to meet Christ. I look for love and a desire to bring people together, an excitement to share Jesus’ words of love and union with everyone; to “get to heaven and bring as many people with [them] as they can”. I like for a strong desire for holiness lived in the reality of the world the Lord desires us to share in here today. Differences will continue to happen, reconciliation brings us together one small act at a time.