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Friday, September 12, 2014

St John Chrysostom

"The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the Body of Christ? Because the loaf of bread is one, we, though many, are one Body, for we all partake of the one loaf." 1Cor 10: 16-17

It is clear in the Gospel that there is little more important to Jesus then the unity of his disciples. Near the end of St John's Gospel he asks his father for a final gift, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you....that the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." (Jn 17:20-21, 23)

Our unity with one another is the sign that that Jesus came from God and is God. We have only to seek unity with one another in Christ in order to preach the truth of the Gospel that Jesus has come for the salvation of all. Anything that inhibits this unity must be resisted, especially the use of power and wealth as weapons to control others.

St John Chrysostom, who desired only to live simply as a monk, was called to be bishop Constantinople, one of the most important sees in the 4th century. A dynamic preacher, John was alarmed that the lifestyle of the bishops and the wealthy was so distancing them from the poor that the unity of the church was threatened. Setting a very simple table, he challenged everyone to think first of their unity in Christ and not of their ability to eat better than others! Eventually, his pointed sermons so upset the rulers of his day that he was exiled from Constantinople and died.

Today, pray for unity with someone from whom you have been separated.

What do you think are the greatest challenges to the unity of the Body of Christ?

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