Each year, from January 18-25, Christians throughout the world celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Christians around the world are invited to pray for the unity of all Christians, to reflect on scripture together, to participate in jointly-organized ecumenical services, and to share fellowship. Although the realities of the present COVID situation make it difficult to gather together, the Pastoral Leadership of the Windsor Heritage Catholic Family of Parishes is working to enter into dialogue with Pastors of other Christian Churches in our area, with the hopes that we can work towards an ecumenical gathering in 2023. Even though we cannot gather this year, all of our parishioners are invited to pray with Jesus that his followers “may all be one,” as he and the Father are one, “so that the world may believe” and have life in his name (John 17)
In our Second Reading this Sunday, St. Paul addresses this theme of unity. He reminds us that through our common baptism, we are all united as members of the body of Christ. Just as our bodies have many parts, so does the Body of Christ. Each part is important, each part has value. Because of this, all of the parts of the body are to be treated with dignity and respect.
Whatever happens to one part of the body affects all the other parts. Many of us have experienced this when we are sick or have been injured in some way. The same is true when we tear down others, simply because they don’t think or act exactly like we do. St. Paul reminds us that we all have different roles to fulfill, based on the gifts and talents that he has given us. Only together, relying on the diversity of our gifts, can we truly build up the Body of Christ on earth.
This week of prayer for Christian Unity challenges us to approach Christians of all denominations with humility and respect, recognizing that we share a common Baptism, and are all united in Christ in some way: even if those bonds of unity are not perfect. Together, we are called to continue the mission of Christ, which is found in today’s Gospel: to bring good news to the poor, proclaim release to the captives, freedom to the oppressed, and to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. May the Lord give us the strength to fulfill this mission as we strive to become a mission-oriented church that forms disciples of Jesus Christ.
Sincerely in Christ
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB