October 21, 2022 – Friday 29th Week in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/102122.cfm)
Is unity in itself a good thing? Unity in itself is something neutral and it depends on how such unity is to serve its purpose. When thieves, corrupt leaders, those who want to advance their self-interest and people with evil intentions unite, then, this will surely be a bad thing. Such unity will bring destruction, violence and death. When people who desire to serve others, those who dream for a better world, people who work hard to earn an honest living and people who have faith in the Lord unite, then, this will bring goodness, abundance, hope and peace.
Thus, it is also not enough to call and invite Christians to simply have unity because this can be for evil or for God. Just like what the Pharisees and lawyers at that time of Jesus, despite being faithful to their religious traditions and practices even to minutest details, their unity was nothing before God. Jesus confronted their hypocrisy because within their hearts lie the evil intentions of self-interest, of seeking power and influence, of indifference and corruption.
So, what kind of unity then, are we called to have? St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians expressed this kind of unity and the intentions behind the call to unite.
Paul called the Ephesians and calls us as well today, to “strive to preserve the unity of the Sprit through the bond of peace.” This is an invitation to be conscious and to seek the gift of unity that comes from the Holy Spirit manifested in peace. This can be experienced within the context of our families, organizations, communities, nations and the whole Church.
The unity that the Spirit brings will surely flourish when we also lived fully what God called us to be. And this is how Paul invites us further today so that we will be united in the Spirit, to become one body and one spirit.
First, to be humble. Grace is received by a humble heart not with an arrogant heart that only thinks of the self.
Second, to be gentle. It is in gentleness that we are able to nurture affection and closer relationship with one another for it makes us understanding. Therefore, true unity of the spirit is not achieved through violence, cruelty or deception.
Third, to be patient. This allow us to let God work in us, and allow our natural process of growing in the spirit by being able to discern, to listen to God and each other. Unity of the spirit is not being fostered by being impulsive and having no time to discern and listen.
Fourth, to be loving. Love and its concrete expressions through self-scarifying service to others and to God that unity of the spirit is being given a face. Thus, it is not in indifference, not in being distanced and unconcerned that we become loving and united in the spirit.