If we look at the brokenness, strife, division and disunity that are prevalent in many societies and nations in our world today, we will understand and appreciate the relevance and urgency of the call to unity and the necessity to communicate this unity to families, communities and countries. This sense of urgency resonates in the readings of this weekend. We may see and experience the breakdown in communication in the home, the jealousy, competitiveness and prejudice in the work place and even in our faith community and the civil war raging in Thailand and many countries in Africa that ravages and destroys many people in the world.
In the First Reading, we feel the urgency of St. Stephen’s speech as he describes the infidelity of Israel to God. At the end of his speech, his opponents, unable to control their fury, rushed at Stephen, dragged him outside the city and stoned him to death. After asking Jesus to receive his spirit, Stephen asked for forgiveness for his executioners. Implicitly, Stephen’s prayer attempts to overcome the disunity between himself and his persecutors. Forgiveness is therefore essential in restoring relationship and fostering unity in the family and the community. And it is done by communicating it in our disposition and efforts to bring reconciliation and peace to others.
Then the reading from Revelation takes up another dimension of unity. Here the accent is on the second coming of Christ and your longing for its happening. What this suggests is that the final event in the experience of the Christian is the enjoyment of the presence of the Lord. At the same time, this yearning for complete unity and intimacy with God urges us to work at unity and communicate it in action to others since it is the basis of our experiencing union with Christ.
The Gospel reading then urges us to transmit Jesus’ call to unity to others. In order to communicate this message authoritatively and credibly, we must live this unity among ourselves in the family and the community. This unity must reflect the love and unity that is in the Holy Trinity. It is characterized by an unconditional and unrestrained giving of self to others for it is this free and trusting giving that breaks down all bias, prejudice and suspicion that threaten to separate and isolate us. As ordinary people without expertise in the use of print media or electronic media to communicate this message, we can be just as effective as the printed word or picture by being the message of peace and unity ourselves to others. There is truth and power in the words of a song in My Fair Lady which cries out, “Don’t talk of love. Show me!”
We are a Eucharistic people because we share the one cup and the bread of Christ that binds us together. It is the sacrament and the instrument of the unity of God and his relationship with us. When we partake of the Eucharist, we are pledging to live this unity with Christ and others in our family and the community so that we communicate the peace and unity of God’s kingdom to the world.
Taken from the bulletin of St Francis Xavier Church - Serangoon