WORD of the DAY
If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand; that is the end of him. But no one can enter a strong man’s house to plunder his property unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he can plunder his house. (Mark 3: 24-27)
Today’s Gospel speaks of Satan, the Divider, and of his house divided against itself. This leads to speaking of the absolute centrality of Christ in conquering this division. Although the evil one is stronger than we are, Christ is certainly the strongest. The life and action of Jesus is from this perspective of the duel between two opposing worlds and in which is definitively played out integral human salvation. If Jesus casts out demons, it is in virtue of the Spirit that He casts them out, and this proves that the Kingdom of God has come.
Jesus speaks of the house of Satan and formulates this principle: “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand”. Thus is it for our Church today. We must seriously make the effort to pray and work for the unity of the Church so that it can be realized more and more in our times.
This is the precisely the yearly time to pray for the unity of all Christians, 18-25 January. “The love of Christ urges us toward reconciliation” (Cf. 2 Cor. 5: 14-20). This Pauline text used for the commentary this year was prepared by the Council of the German Evangelical Church on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation in 1517. After much discussion, an agreement was made to have it be a “Celebration of Christ”. If in fact, attention is placed on Jesus Christ and His work of redemption as the center of Christian faith, then all the various confessions can participate in the celebration.
The Pauline text emphasizes that reconciliation is a gratuitous gift of God and involves all of creation. Christians who have been reconciled by the action of God in Christ, are personally called to proclaim this reconciliation with their words and life. Today’s world has extreme need of authentic witnesses of reconciliation who make the barriers and walls that separate us turn into bridges that establish peace and bring about new styles of life and of communion. One of these witnesses is certainly our Pope Francis who has given new impulse and vigor to these days of the ecumenical movement, especially with his historic visit to the Lutheran Church of Lund in Sweden.
O merciful God, out of love You make a covenant with Your people. Give us the strength to abstain from every kind of discrimination. Grant that the gift of Your Covenant of Love may fill us with joy and inspire us to greater unity. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ.