THE SERVANT GENERAL
OUR THEME FOR 2017
UNITY IN THE CHURCH - 2
Today’s reading: Acts 2:42-47
The one body of Christ on earth, which is the Church, was
established by God on the day of Pentecost. There were basic
elements in their life that bound them in unity.
“they devoted themselves to the teaching of the apostles”
(v.42a). There was one Church teaching, given by the apostles.
To have one faith, one belief, one Magisterium, is to ensure
unity. Unfortunately today there are dissidents (clerics,
theologians, prelates), mostly liberals, who want to overturn
age-old teachings of the Church. And at times there is confusion,
as in the case of Amoris Laetitia, with liberal and conservative
prelates having opposing interpretations.
“they devoted themselves .... to the communal life”
(v.42b). To live as one community is to be united. They worshiped
and had fellowship together. “Every day they devoted
themselves to meeting together in the temple area and to breaking
bread in their homes.” (v.46a). They grew intimately
in their personal relationships. They opened their homes to
one another. Unfortunately in many communities today (parishes,
Church orgs, ecclesial movements), there is often division,
brought about by many things, such as personal conflicts,
envy, factionalism, etc.
“they devoted themselves .... to the breaking of the
bread” (v.42c). The Eucharist was the central aspect
of their community life. Living the Eucharist ensured that
they were growing in faith, being filled with grace, and being
empowered by the Spirit. The Church, while earth-bound, is
a divine institution, with its members sustained by what is
truly divine, the body and blood of the Lord Jesus. Unfortunately,
many Catholics no longer go regularly to Sunday Mass. And
many who go do not really live out their faith. Such failure
to grow in the holiness enabled by the Eucharist is what ends
up in strife, division and even schism.
“they devoted themselves .... to the prayers.”
(v.42d). Prayer is basic communication with God. It fosters
a relationship with God. Those who pray with devotion are
those who focus themselves on Christ, and in their relationship
with their brethren, they look to Christ, thus ensuring unity,
even in disagreements. Unfortunately today prayer is neglected.
Or prayer becomes rote. Or prayer is not God-centered but
self-centered (asking for things; looking to personal well-being).
they understood and embraced stewardship. “All who believed
were together and had all things in common; they would sell
their property and possessions and divide them among all according
to each one’s need.” (v.44-45). To know that everything
belongs to God (including everything we call “ours”),
to know that we are mere stewards of earthly resources, to
be willing to selflessly dispose of property not for personal
gain but to be able to help those in need, all these helped
bring unity. No division between rich and poor, haves and
have-nots. No holding on to things but freely giving. Unfortunately
today many Catholics do not practice proper stewardship. They
do not give much for the support of the Church’s work.
Either they do not know about tithing, or they know but simply
cannot part with 10% of their income to give to the community.
Thus they are physically together in community but do not
hold all things in common. This weakens unity.
they were busily engaged in the work of evangelization. Their
work was rapid and massive, such that “every day the
Lord added to their number those who were being saved.”
(v.47b). To be focused on the work, assaulting the one enemy,
with single-minded resolve to win souls for the Kingdom, these
help ensure unity. Unfortunately today many lay Catholics
are not evangelizing. They do not even know about evangelization
and mission. They are not engaged. When God’s people
are not out on mission, they end up quarreling with each other.
But engaged in raging spiritual war, God’s people need
to be united.
God established the Church, and showed her the way to live
their communal life, such that they were truly one body. They
had formation, a communal life, the Eucharist, a prayer life,
service with stewardship, and mission. These are the key to
being authentic Church. These are the key to unity in the