In today’s First Reading Paul encourages the Ephesians to practice the virtues that will ensure their unity in serving the Lord, in the faith, and in baptism: humility, gentleness, patience, and love. Christians have not always lived these virtues and it has not only undermined our unity, but also undermined our mission. We still all share one Lord and one baptism: every Christian through Baptism is incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ, but through historical disagreements in East and West we no longer agree on the fullness of faith and how it should be lived and put into practice. We don’t all share the same articles of faith, worship, or governance; those three elements all stem from our faith in how Our Lord has handed on the faith to the Apostles and to us through the centuries.
Paul’s exhortation today is a call to duty to all Christians today. We must be one. To strengthen and full restore Christian unity we must come together in humility, gentleness, patience, and love, just as Paul teaches us, and we will overcome our differences and disagreements because the mission demands it and it is not just Paul’s desire, but Our Lord’s as well. Let’s pray and work that one day we’ll once again profess one faith, celebrated on Eucharist, and be united under the same pastoral guidance.
Ecumenism involves discussion and frank dialogue, but it starts with virtue. Ask Our Lord to help you practice some “virtuous” ecumenism today. Every bit helps rebuild unity.
Readings: Ephesians 4:1–6; Psalm 24:1–4b, 5–6; Luke 12:54–59. See also 29th Week in Ordinary Time, Friday.