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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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Lenten reflection, day 34

Scripture readings: Ezekiel 37:21-28; Jeremiah 31; John 11:45-56

unityThe thread running through all three readings is one of gathering, unity, and joy. We are reassured that God is not indifferent to the world’s divisions, hatreds, prejudices. God is not absent or unseeing. The work of gathering is His, and we are invited to participate in imitation of His Son.

We are scattered by our religious, cultural, and personal differences. The work of unity is the purpose of the new covenant. Experiences of oneness lead to rejoicing in the Lord: barriers are broken down, and mourning is turned into gladness.

The threat of arrest, the vengeful plotting, and the prophecy of Caiaphas hint at the heavy toll that working for unity can bring.

When we stand in the middle, in open ground, outside the safety of our particular group, with its protective prejudices and unifying hatreds, we become vulnerable, liable to be crushed in the warfare between opposing world views.

The goal of unity—hope to some—is a threat to others who are afraid of losing their special privileges.

Do we, like the Pharisees, feel threatened by the truth of Jesus? Are we secretly afraid that if we truly accept Him we might be humbled rather than exalted?

Rev. Mark Owen, C.Ss.R.
Dominica, West Indies

Download our 2014 Lenten reflections booklet here