Sunday, January 23, 2011

No Divisions Among You

It is always so much easier to see what is different about others than what we have in common. Perhaps we take the commonalities for granted, or perhaps we are so preoccupied with the differences that we do not realize that they are indeed few and small. One thing we can be sure of, and that is that they existed in the time of the Lord as well.
Take Galilee, for example. At the time of the Lord, it about half Gentile. Certainly the Jews living there could not have been happy about this. But that is where Jesus chose to begin His ministry - a place where people desperately need to be brought together. Now, this did not mean that they should abandon their beliefs. On the contrary, they needed to really practice their faith in order to help the Gentiles discover the truth in the One, True God.
When He called the disciples to follow Him, He needed their help to spread the message of unity. This was, of course, based on His unity with the Father and the Spirit, which He would later pray would be extended to all ("As you, Father, in me and I in you, may they be one in us.") His preaching met with quite a bit of resistance. Naturally, the divisions did not immediately cease. Paul wrote about divisions among the people of Corinth in today's second reading (1 Cor 1:10-13, 17).And indeed, they still exist 2,000 years later.
The question is: "What are we willing to do about it?" Would anyone see us as a person who unites, or do they see us as someone who is more concerned with differences? When we interact with others, do we first notice what we have in common, or what makes us different? When others begin criticizing people for their "idiosyncrasies", do we chime in with similar criticisms, or do we point out how they are like us?
Certainly there are things that make us different from one another, and there are plenty of people who are more than happy to point these out. But to what end?
Maybe, just maybe if we spend this week pointing out what we have in common with one another, those things that unite us, by this time next week there will be less division in our world and more unity. One thing is sure. If we keep going the way we have, we will never fulfill Paul's urging "that there be no divisions among you."

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