Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter
(Acts 20:28-38; John 17:11-19)
Latin America has become pluralistic with regard to religion. In most cities Protestant churches dot neighborhoods like grocery stores, and missionaries pace the streets inviting people to taste their spiritual food. There is little concern for ecumenism. Priests see the missionaries as bandits raiding their flocks as Paul warns of in today’s first reading. Meanwhile, Protestant pastors criticize Catholic priests as betrayers of the word of God which the gospel mentions as given by Jesus to his disciples. The situation defies Jesus’ prayer for unity at the heart of his “Priestly Prayer.”
Jesus asks his Father to make all those who believe in him one in faith and love. He has in mind all the churches that his disciples will establish. We extend that vision today with the hope, expressed by Pope John Paul II in his encyclical That They May Be One, that Christian communities of the Reformation as well as the Orthodox churches someday share with Catholics the Eucharist. We can move toward this goal by cooperating with other branches of Christianity on charitable projects, by participating in ecumenical dialogues and prayer services, and by voiding criticism of other religious traditions.