Wednesday, May 20, 2015


Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
By Beth DeCristofaro
Paul … called out before the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the group became divided….  The following night the Lord stood by (Paul) and said, “Take courage.  For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.” (Acts 23:6-7, 11)
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:  “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. (John 17:20-21)
Fill me with the awe of your presence in all my interactions with fellow humans, Jesus, because of your love and the love of our Father for me and for all people.  Dissolve my prejudices, fears, paucities.  May the Spirit propel me to humility, witness and wholeness in You. 
And Jesus says to us, each day, each hour:  “Take courage and witness to Me.”  Today is the final day of a Symposium at Catholic University on Nostra Aetate (“Declaration On The Relation Of The Church To Non-Christian Religions”, Vatican II).  The document recognizes that there is truth and holiness and witness to God’s presence in the world in non-Christian religions while affirming the unique and incarnate mystery of the Word that was and is Jesus Christ.   The document declares in part that humans have in common “One is the community of all peoples, one their origin, for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the earth. One also is their final goal, God. His providence, His manifestations of goodness, His saving design extend to all men”[i]
Our witness must include looking for God in the hearts of others rather than imposing ourselves upon them.  The recent ugly debacle in Texas where participants mocked in cartoons and violence the prophet Mohammed, the Christian militias who make war in Africa, Christian vandals defacing mosques and synagogues, Christian politicians who claim that other governmental leaders who have differing views are not Christian, Catholics asserting that only this prayer or that set of rituals is the only and right way to worship and experience Christ, all these throw Jesus’ words back in His face.
Unity begins with me.  I can look for the face of Jesus in each human face rather than judge her/his right to be respected and cherished.  I can pray for the well-being and spiritual expanding of other peoples.  I can give and serve rather than hold onto or receive.  I can profoundly live with humility, gratitude and generosity the furthers words of Jesus:  And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me (John 17:22)

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