Along with millions of my closest friends, I watched the announcement of Pope Francis with a co-worker who is a non-affiliated Christian almost 20 years my junior. He was interested to learn all he could while viewing his first Papal announcement.
He looked up from reading about what was happening at the Vatican from CNN.com to see a shot on another screen similar to the one at the right with the people waiting at Saint Peter’s. He said, “This is an amazing sign of Christian unity. There are people from every nation joined in joy for the announcement of the Pope. I wish we had something like this.” But he does, it’s just that his forefathers rejected it.
He has been raised to believe that Catholics are not Christians and that he is not a Protestant but a non-denominational Christian. God bless the humbly ignorant for they know not what they don’t know.
To Be A Christian Is To Be In Unity
From Lumen Gentium §18 ¶02, “In order that the apostles might be one and undivided, Christ Jesus placed Peter over them, and instituted in him a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion.”
Since the Church was empowered at the first Pentecost, we have been unified—more or less—under Peter in his role as prime minister of Kingdom of God on Earth. This role has many symbols but the the most important are the keys given to Peter by Christ. For over 2,000 years 266 flawed and weak men have held those keys. They are now the responsibility of the humble Italian from Argentina.
With those keys, the successor of Peter brings unity to the Church and the world as seen in the hundreds of world leaders who came to his inaugural Mass, including non-Christians and those who are not children of Abraham. Remember, no invitations were sent and all of the major news outlets covered almost the entire 4 plus weeks of this event since Pope Benedict announced his abdication.
And yet, Christian brothers and sisters reject the holder of the keys, some calling him the whore of Babylon. And there are Catholics who believe all Protestants are going to hell.
God wants much for us but above all God wants unity among humanity. The Scripture seem clear that God wants us to live in unity under the cross. I believe each who claims the name Christian has a responsibility to bring the hope of unity to a reality.
We have must work to bring unity within the body. Let it begin with us.
- What can you do to bring unity within the body of Christ?
- What can you stop doing that would bring unity?
- Are you judging the sins of others because they are different than your sins or are you doing all you can through prayer and your actions to sin no more?
- Are you working to understand the diverse body of Christ or rejecting all the parts that are not the same as yours?
- Can you pray in the words of Christ that we all be one as the Father and He are one, or are you thorn in the side of unity?