Second Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

If you like music, for sure your remember the famous The Three Tenors, Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti[1]. At the end of his best concert a reporter asked them about rivalry among them, and they said there was none. But the reporter was not satisfied and kept coming back to the issue of rivalry among the three superstars. Then Domingo explained, “You have to put all of your concentration into opening your heart to the music. You can’t be rivals when you’re together making music. You can’t be rivals when you’re together making music.” As Christians are we called to be rivals or are we called to make music together?[2].

This week we begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, more simply known as Christian Unity Week (January 18-25)[3]. You know, the World Christian Encyclopedia has documented 34,000 different Christian denominations, and the figure keeps rising. Many Christian churches today spend much of their resources not in spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ but in fighting and cannibalizing other Christian churches. To maintain their identity and show that they are distinct from other Christian churches, they emphasize their differences rather that the things they have in common. They fight each other and forget that as Christians we are called to make music together in the world. This is a misunderstanding of what Christianity is all about, as Paul tells us in the second reading[4].

God has given us a lot of gifts for the common good and selfishly we have used as grounds for rivalry. As a parent, how do you feel when you bring home gifts for your children as a way of making the whole family happy, and they start a fight. Imagine then how God feels at the way His children are using His gifts as cause for sibling rivalry and violence.

In our second reading today St. Paul invites us to engage in different services and ministries because we have different spiritual gifts. But he warns that we should not be so engrossed in the various works we do for the Lord, that we forget the one Lord of the work. In the various services we see diversity; in the one Lord we see unity. Christian unity, therefore, is a unity in diversity.

The disunity in Christianity is a scandal to the world that we are called to bring to God. It is a scandal that weakens the Christian message and witness. What moral right have we to ask the world to reconcile their differences when we as Christians cannot reconcile our own differences?

Let us today ask God’s forgiveness for all of God’s children for the sin of disunity. Let us pray for Christian unity, and resolve to extend a hand of reconciliation and friendship to our estranged brothers and sisters in the Lord.

Lord, hear the prayers of your people and bring the hearts of believers together in your praise and in common sorrow for their sins. Heal all divisions among Christians that we may rejoice in the perfect unity of your Church and move together as one to eternal life in your kingdom. Amen ■

[1] The Three Tenors is a name given to the Spanish singers Plácido Domingo and José Carreras and the Italian singer Luciano Pavarotti who sang in concert under this banner during the 1990s and early 2000s (decade). The trio began their collaboration with a performance at the ancient Baths of Caracalla, in Rome, Italy, on July 7, 1990 – the eve of the 1990 FIFA World Cup Final. Zubin Mehta conducted the orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino and the orchestra of Teatro dell'Opera di Roma.
[2] Sunday 20th January, 2013, 2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time. Readings: Isaiah 62:1-5. Proclaim his marvelous deeds to all the nations - Ps 95(96):1-3, 7-10. 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. John 2:1-11 [St Fabian; St Sebastian].
[3] The movement among Christians promoting Christian unity, as everyone knows, is the ecumenical movement. It is the Church’s attempt to practice what Our Lord prayed for on the night before he died for us. The desire for Christian unity—which is the real spark behind the ecumenical movement—originates in the heart of Christ. And Jesus’ fervent desire is expressed clearly in the prayer he uttered at the Last Supper. Unity, especially among Christians, was a theme of the papacy of John XXIII. He wanted to change the long-standing attitude of Catholic triumphalism that stood in the way of better relations with other denominations.
[4] Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. (1 Corinthians 12:4-6). 

Y entonces uno se queda con la Iglesia, que me ofrece lo único que debe ofrecerme la Iglesia: el conocimiento de que ya estamos salvados –porque esa es la primera misión de la Iglesia, el anunciar la salvación gracias a Jesucristo- y el camino para alcanzar la alegría, pero sin exclusividades de buen pastor, a través de esa maravilla que es la confesión y los sacramentos. La Iglesia, sin partecitas.

laus deo virginique matris