In this day and age, we seem to find more and more ways to create boundaries that divide us – gender, color of skin, politics, employment status, citizenship, denomination, etc.
I am thankful for the unifying words of the late Catholic priest and writer Henri Nouwen in his book “Bread for the Journey – a Daybook of Wisdom and Faith.”
Nouwen says, “The sacrament of the Eucharist (Holy Communion), as the sacrament of the presence of Christ among and within us, has the unique power to unite us into one body, irrespective of age, color, race or gender, emotional condition, economic status, or social background.”
Nouwen goes on to discuss how this sacramental act of sharing bread and cup breaks through human-made boundaries and creates the one body of Christ, a symbol of unity and community.
Nouwen supports these statements by referencing the Gospel of John 17:20-21, “My prayer is not for them alone. 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. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (New International Version)
God never meant for there to be so many divisions among God’s children.
We, as imperfect humans, have created these boundaries between our differences and I believe that it deeply saddens God to see how divided we have become.
Rather than looking at our uniqueness as a way to divide and denigrate, let us celebrate the colorful tapestry that is called humanity!
What a joy to have our lives enriched and faith deepened by one another’s unique human condition and insight. What a gift to learn from one another through how we see and experience God!
Let us appreciate and respect the different appearances, traditions and life circumstances that have created the human tapestry and try to remember what God has deemed the most important commandment: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the law and the prophets hang on these two commandments.”