Thứ Tư, 8 tháng 10, 2014

Daily reflection _ all are one

We are one in Christ and form but a single family because God is the Father of us all.  
Deacon John Ruscheinsky
In the early Church, all of the first converts were Jews, as were the Apostles themselves. When Gentiles began to enter the Church, many Jewish Christians had the mistaken notion that they had to be Jews first in order to be Christians. St. Paul's mission was mainly among Gentiles, whereas that of St. Peter was spent principally with Jews. St. Peter understood that faith in Jesus as the Christ was the necessary mark of a Christian, not the observance of the old Mosaic Law. However, he was under pressure from Jewish converts to make everyone follow that Law. When Peter showed some weakness about enforcing the correct principle, St. Paul admonished him. It was vital that Peter, the visible head of the Church, give a good example.
Conflict is not new with us. It was present in the lives of Saints Peter and Paul. Paul is challenging Peter to be authentic, that is, to not expect of others what he himself is not doing. We are all aware of conflicts in relationships in our own lives, past and present. They might be as relatively unimportant as not agreeing on which TV program to watch, or as important as not seeing eye-to-eye on the major political platforms, or making a big family decision. It might be that some of our conflicts arise out of not acting authentically.
St. Paul understood and insisted that "all are one in Christ Jesus." To become a Christian was to take on a new identity, to share with Christ the wonderfully good news of being a child of God. So where can one turn but to the prayer of Jesus Himself to receive the strength to be authentic; in other words to act in a reliable, trustworthy and genuine way? So, when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He taught them what we call the "Lord's Prayer." By this prayer Jesus indicates that the God who is His Father is our Father as well. What a marvelous gift! And with Jesus, not only with each other, do we call upon God as "Our Father." Jesus is part of the word "our." The Father of Jesus is our Father too because we are one with Jesus as members of His Mystical Body, the Church.
Sometimes converts might regret that they were not Catholic from the time of their infancy, but all that does not matter. The only thing that matters is that Jesus has taken us to Himself and transformed us into His likeness so that God is truly our Father. We are one in Christ and form but a single family because God is the Father of us all. The "Our Father," which we pray at each Eucharist, contains three essential elements of prayer: recognizing and praising God as God, asking God for what we need and forgiving others as we forgive.
Our mortal life is to be ordered in such a way that we fulfill our responsibilities as citizens of earth and of heaven so that we might attain to the aim of life as established by God. That is, all humans, whether taken singly or as united in society, have the responsibility of tending ceaselessly towards the attainment of heavenly things. May we use for this purpose only, earthly goods, which must not deter our eternal happiness.

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