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Monday, September 18, 2000

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1 Corinthians 11:17-26, 33
Psalm 40
Luke 7:1-10

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painful unity

"There may even have to be factions among you for the tried and true to stand out clearly." —1 Corinthians 11:19

Jesus prays at this moment that we may be one as He and the Father are One (Jn 17:21). But this unity must come about through conversion and not by compromising basic truths. Jesus is not praying for the lowest-common-denominator unity of a watered-down gospel. Rather, He prays for a Trinitarian unity which comes from deep repentance and radical transformation.

To help us grow into this kind of unity, Jesus often brings division (Lk 12:51). Most of the time this cannot be avoided. For example, if a pastor seriously wants to renew his parish, he usually must resign himself to parishioners leaving, greater division in the parish, and persecution. If parents want to see their children united under Jesus' lordship, they will probably experience greater conflict and alienation from some of their children for a time. The way to unity in church, marriage, family, etc, is the way of the cross — painful division and persecution endured through unconditional love. On Calvary, Jesus paid the price for unity; now He prays for us to make our contribution. Will you pay the painful price?

Prayer:  Father, may I want unity more than I want my own way and my personal comfort.

Promise:  "Just give the order and my servant will be cured." —Lk 7:7

Praise:  A Lutheran, a Presbyterian, a Catholic, and two members of non-denominational churches work together in inner-city ministry.

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, March 8, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 9, 2000