Vatican City (AsiaNews) - The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity this year is an opportunity to rally around the "Churches and Ecclesial Communities of Jerusalem, gathered together in an ecumenical spirit”, said Benedict XVI Sunday, addressing the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square for the Angelus.
The reason for this closeness is twofold: first, because the theme of the week (celebrated January 18 to 25) "is a passage from Acts, which summarizes in a few words the life of the early Christian community in Jerusalem : 'United in the teaching of the Apostles, , fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer' (Acts 2:42). "
The second reason is that the issue has been proposed by the same Churches and ecclesial communities (Protestant communities) in Jerusalem. "We know - said the Pope - how many trials our brothers and sisters of the Holy Land and the Middle East must face. Their service is therefore more precious, confirmed by a witness that, in some cases, even arrives at the sacrifice of life. So while we welcome with joy the insights offered by the communities living in Jerusalem, we gather around them, and this becomes for all an additional factor of communion. "
"Even today - he continued - to be sign and instrument of intimate union with God and unity among men in the world, we Christians must base our lives on these four 'pillars': listening to the Word of God transmitted in the living Tradition of the Church, fraternal communion, the Eucharist and prayer. Only in this way, remaining firmly united to Christ, can the Church effectively carry out its mission, despite the limitations and failings of its members, despite the divisions. "
"Each division in the Church is an insult to Christ," the pontiff said. At the same time it "is always in Him, the only Head and Lord, that we may find ourselves together, through the inexhaustible power of his grace."
Benedict XVI, taking up a theme of the Gospel in today's Mass, then invited all to conversion: "The serious commitment to conversion to Christ is the way that leads the Church, in God’s time, to full visible unity. The ecumenical meetings which these days are multiplying around the world are a sign of this. "
The pope also recalled the ecumenical appointments of the coming two days: tomorrow, 24 January, "a session meeting of the Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Ancient Oriental Churches" for January 25, the solemn celebration of Vespers the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul at the end of the week.