Skip to main content


"Ecumenism Does Not Allow Anything to Become Lost"

2/12/2004 - 6:00 AM PST

Advertisment

Cardinal Kasper's Homily at End of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

ROME, FEB. 11, 2004 (Zenit) - Here is a translation of the homily Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, gave at a Mass that concluded the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity on Jan. 25, the feast of the Conversion of St. Paul. He gave the homily in Italian.

* * *

Total conversion fosters the grace of unity

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

1. "My peace I give to you": This year's Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is inspired by these words taken from the Gospel of John. To all of you here I now address the ancient biblical and liturgical greeting: Shalom! Pax vobiscum! Peace be with you!

I greet with joy the Christian communities of Rome, especially the brothers and sisters of the communities that are not Catholic, united to us in the faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. This year, a special bond joins us to Christians of the Middle East and in a particular way to those of Syria, where -- in Aleppo -- the text was prepared for the Week of Prayer. Let us fervently ask that peace may return to this tormented region of the world; a region which, in the early centuries, was the cradle of a rich Christian culture; a region where today, however, Christians are a minority but give a good example of living in concord and of ecumenical collaboration. To these brothers and sisters we extend our gratitude and prayer: "Peace be with you!"

Jesus says be "peacemakers"

2. Men and women have always looked towards peace with hope and longing, ever opposed to violence and war and continuing to believe that in the end, peace will have the last word. This cry raised up by those thirsting for peace is heard by God, since God is the God of men, a God who answers our invocation. Peace is one of his names (cf. 1 Corinthians 14:33). Shalom, peace, is an ancient promise, a promise we find again in both the Old and New Testaments.

Peace does not mean simply the silence of weapons. Peace is an order willed by God for all things, a world where men and women live together without violence, in freedom and happiness. Peace means peace in the universe, peace between nations, peace within a population, peace in the depths of the heart. The Bible concludes with the world vision where God will "wipe away every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or mourning, crying out or pain" (Revelation 21:4).

The New Testament announces to us this hope of peace that is fulfilled in Jesus Christ. "For he is our peace" (Ephesians 2:14). Christ founded peace and nailed hatred, violence and hostility on the Cross. He underwent violence in his own body but did not respond with violence, praying instead for those persecuting him. He entrusted his disciples with the responsibility to be, like him, peacemakers (cf. Matthew 5:9).

We cannot regain unity by our own unaided efforts. This is why Jesus has left us his peace. He has infused his Spirit into our hearts: not the spirit of this world, but the spirit of peace, justice, reconciliation, docility and charity, the spirit which transforms our egoism and selfishness and makes us new men and women, persons in whose hearts the peace of Christ joyfully reigns (cf. Colossians 3:15). As men and women who have been given peace, we Christians must be ambassadors, witnesses, pioneers of peace in this world.

Unite to heal schism

3. Dear brothers and sisters, faced with the urgency of this message of peace, our heart fills with sorrow and shame, since the images that our world -- and even our Churches -- send us are much different. Our Churches are divided and down through history, their example, rather than being mutual and in favour of peace, has been one of opposition.

Each time that we Catholics say, at the moment of the Eucharistic celebration before Communion, "Peace be with you," we earnestly add: "Look not upon our sins." This also means: Do not look upon the sin of schism, the scandal of separation. And we all have reason to ask: "Give us unity and peace."

This prayer at the center of the Eucharistic celebration has already grown in my heart for many years. It is for me the prayer for Christian unity. Day after day, especially Sunday after Sunday, it is pronounced by a large number of Christians worldwide. For this, it cannot be recited in vain, it cannot go unheard. By reciting this prayer, we unite ourselves to Jesus' own prayer to the Father on the eve of his death, "that they may all be one" (John 17:21). Jesus pronounces this prayer before us, with us, for us.

True spirit of Christian hope

4. Thus, united in prayer with Christ, we are able to welcome the consoling words of the Gospel: "Do not let your hearts be troubled." These ...

1 | 2  Next Page

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment


Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Second Samuel 7:1-5, 8-11, 16
Once the king had settled into his palace and Yahweh had ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 89:2-3, 4-5, 27, 29
for you have said: love is built to last for ever, you have ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 1:26-38
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 16:25-27
And now to him who can make you strong in accordance with the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

December 21 Saint of the Day

St. Peter Canisius
December 21: In 1565, the Vatican was looking for a secret agent. It was ... Read More