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Jesus himself made a dying prayer at the Last Supper that we might live in unity, and yet, Pope Francis lamented at Mass in Casa Santa Marta, we are “accustomed to breathe the air of conflict.”
Drawing from the readings Friday, the Holy Father spoke of the conflicts reported in the news “one right after another” — it’s a procession of “arms, preparations for war, destruction.”
We even see today world institutions that were created with the best of intentions to help the unity and peace of humanity, find themselves incapable of reaching an agreement: There’s a veto here, a particular interest there … And it becomes difficult to make peace agreements. Meanwhile, children don’t have food, don’t go to school, can’t receive an education; there aren’t hospitals because wars destroy everything. There is, on our part, a tendency toward destruction, war and disunity. It is the tendency that the enemy sows in our hearts, the destroyer of humanity, the devil.Paul, in this passage, teaches us the path toward unity. He says that unity is covered, is bound, we could say, with the link of peace. Peace brings unity.
Here, then, Paul appeals for behavior that is worthy of the call we have received: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love …
To make peace and unity among us: humility and gentleness. We who are accustomed to insults and yelling … gentleness and patience. Let people be. Open the heart. Can peace be made in the world with these three little things? Yes, this is the path. Can we reach unity? Yes, along this path. “Humility and gentleness, with patience.” Paul is practical, and he gives some very practical advice: Bear with one another through love … Bear with one another. It’s not easy. Judgement always springs up, and condemnation, which leads to separation and distance …
The pope said this happens not only at the global level, but also within the family. And the devil is “happy” with this: It is “the beginning of war.”
The counsel from St. Paul, then, is to “bear with one another,” because, Francis said, “all of us give other people reasons to be annoyed, to be impatient. Because all of us are sinners. We all have our defects.”
St. Paul recommends “striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace,” undoubtedly under the inspiration of the words of Jesus in the Last Supper: one body and one Spirit.
Then, he brings us to see the horizon of peace, like God, as Jesus shows us the horizon of peace in prayer. “Father, that they may be one, as you and I are one. Unity.”
Pope Francis noted how Luke recounts Jesus’ advice to “settle the matter on the way,” before arriving to a judge. This is good advice, the pope remarked, because it’s not so difficult “to find a solution at the beginning of a conflict.”
The advice of Jesus: Settle the matter at the beginning, make peace at the beginning. This is humility. This is gentleness. This is magnanimity. Peace can be made all over the world with these little things, because these attitudes are Jesus’ attitude: humble, meek, forgiving everything. The world today needs peace; we need peace; our families need peace; our society needs peace.Let’s begin at home to practice these simple things: patience, gentleness, humility. Let us go forward along this path: Always making unity, consolidating unity. May the Lord help us on this path.