Sunday, January 22, 2012

CHRISTIAN UNITY: Day 5 - Changed by the Peace of the Risen Lord

Day 5
Theme: Changed by the peace of the Risen Lord
Jesus stood among them and said: Peace be with you! (Jn 20:19)

Mal 4:5-6
He will turn the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of children to their parents
Ps 133
How good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!
Eph 2:14-20
To reconcile both groups to God in one body, putting to death hostility
Jn 20:19-23
Jesus stood among them and said: Peace be with you!

The final words of the last book of the Old Testament convey the promise that God will send His chosen one to establish harmony and respect in all households. Usually we fear strife between nations or unexpected aggression. But the prophet Malachi draws attention to one of the most difficult and enduring conflicts - the heartbreak in relations between parents and their offspring. This restoration of unity between parents and children is not possible without God’s help – it is God’s emissary who performs the miracle of transformation in people’s hearts and relationships. 

The psalm shows what great joy such unity among people can bring. The human person was not created to be alone, and cannot live contentedly in a hostile atmosphere. Happiness consists in living in a human community in harmony, peace, trust and understanding. Good relations between people are as dew upon the dry earth and a fragrant oil which furthers health and pleasure. The psalm refers to the goodness of living together as a blessing and undeserved gift from God, like the dew. Living together in unity is not restricted to family members only – this is rather a declaration of the closeness between people who accept the peace of God. 

The epistle tells us of Him whom the prophet Malachi announced. Jesus brings unity, because He has demolished the wall of hostility between people in His own body. Generally, a person’s victory involves the downfall and shame of those who have been defeated, who prefer to withdraw. Jesus does not reject, or destroy, or humiliate; He puts an end to alienation, He transforms, heals and unites all, that they may become members of God’s household

The gospel recalls the gift of the risen Lord, given to His uncertain and terrified disciples. Peace be with you – that is Christ’s greeting and also His gift. It is also an invitation to seek peace with God and establish new, lasting relationships within the human family and all of creation. Jesus has trampled down death and sin. By the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Risen Lord invites His disciples into His mission of bringing peace, healing and forgiveness to all the world. As long as Christians remain divided, the world will not be convinced of the full truth of the Gospel message that Christ has brought about one new humanity. Peace and unity are the hallmarks of this transformation. The Churches need to appropriate and witness to these gifts as members of the one household of God built upon the sure foundation of Jesus as the cornerstone.


Loving and merciful God, teach us the joy of sharing in Your peace. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit so that we may tear down the walls of hostility separating us. May the risen Christ, who is our peace, help us to overcome all division and unite us as members of His household. We ask this in the name of Jesus Christ, to whom with You and the Holy Spirit be all honour and glory, world without end. Amen.

Questions for reflection
  1. What forms of violence in our community can we as Christians confront together?
  2. How do we experience hidden hostilities that affect our relationship to each other as Christian communities?
  3. How can we learn to welcome each other as Christ welcomes us?

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