Saturday, November 12, 2011

Made Over Anew

November 12, 2011

Memorial of Saint Josaphat, bishop and martyr

For all creation, in its several kinds, was being made over anew, serving its natural laws, that your children might be preserved unharmed. Wisdom 19:6

"Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?" Luke 18:7-8


They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47)

*This was the biblical text for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2011.


St. Josaphat whom we memorialize today was martyred by factions within the Church who reveled in the division between the Latin and Eastern rites. He is the first saint from the Eastern Church to be canonized by Rome. After his death, his body was recovered and is buried in St. Pater's Basilica in Rome.

The separation of the Church occurred when the Roman Empire was divided and conquered. Yet, salvation history did not envision multiple churches. Jesus instructed Peter to build one church.

The imagery of our reading from the Book of Wisdom calls to mind another quiet night in Scripture -- when a young mother and father journeyed to Bethlehem and welcomed into the world the gift God has granted to them and to all of us. The night scene also brings to mind the picture of a curious Pharisee sneaking through the dark streets of Nazareth to meet up with the mysterious teacher who tells him that he must be born anew in the Spirit. Rather than entrap Jesus, Nicodemus became one of his few defenders among the other Pharisees who ended up dividing themselves from Jesus.

Jesus came to us in the night and in the day to make us over anew and save us from our selfish manners. Throughout salvation history, others like Nicodemus and Josaphat tried to lead us to unity not division.

Night is that wonderful quiet time when half (or more) of the world is asleep. Yet on the other side of the world, light shines. We slowly turn toward the light, closer and closer, every second, until we come face to face with it in the Rising Son. Just as we move closer and closer to the sunrise each moment in the passing night, Jesus urges us to do the same with our prayer -- be in a state of prayer constantly so that we are always sending our petitions to the Good Judge to unify us all in our lives of piety, study and action.


What divides your spirit, your family or your friends? Take steps today to heal those divisions.