Isaiah 8:23 – 9:3; 1 Corinthians 1:10-13,17; Matthew 4:12 -23
3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time
“Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you?” Paul’s two questions addressed to the church at Corinth were prompted by reports he was getting that the community was in danger of being divided into factions – those who were led to the faith by St. Paul versus those who were influenced by Cephas (St. Peter) versus those who were brought into the Church by Apollos (another early Church leader). Paul reminds the community directly and forcefully that such divisions make no sense. There is only one Body of Christ. The Church came into being through the life, death and resurrection of Christ and lives within him, animated by the Holy Spirit. We are all in this adventure together.
One of the most important transformations in the Church to come out of the Vatican II Council was a renewed commitment to Ecumenism – the commitment of the Catholic Church to engage in dialogue and fellowship with other Christian denominations so as to fulfill Jesus’s desire that “all may be one.” Much good work has been done since then, yet something deep within our human nature continues to drag us back to our tribal origins. It is so much easier for us to notice our differences than to celebrate what we have in common. This week, as you listen to the words of St. Paul proclaimed during Mass, call to mind all of our sisters and brothers belonging to other Christian denominations who are celebrating their membership in the Body of Christ in their worship services. Say a prayer for them, and offer a prayer for all Christians, that in the ways that really matter we may fulfill Jesus’ desire.
Jim Philipps (3rd millennium pilgrim)
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