Christians worldwide have been fervently praying worldwide for the attainment of Christian unity on 18-25 January, 2023. The theme of the week was “Do good, seek justice”.
These prayers will definitely be answered sooner or later as they reflect sincere and irreversible desire to attain the noble and divine goal of Christian unity.
Press reports indicate that the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity began in 1908 as the Octave of Christian Unity. This proves the fact that over the past 115 years, the week of prayer for Christian unity was marked annually but unfortunately with no plausible results have been achieved so far!
Prayers for Christian unity are not an annual event that merely has to be marked on regular bases like any other anniversary. It is a fervent supplication and payer to the Prince of Peace and the Savior of the world, Lord Jesus Christ, to help the Christian communities worldwide heal this chronic rift and restore unity to the Christian body so that all Christians would jointly raise their hands unanimously in praise and gratitude to the Lord for His endless favors and mercy.
A period of some 115 years is more than enough to set a firm basis for Christian unity, to eliminate all the prevailing minor differences, if any, and to restore the glory of Christianity. As Christian unity has all the time been of exigent importance all the time, it is nowadays more important than ever as reports indicate that over 360 million Christians are suffering persecution in the world. In its annual report for 2023, "Open Doors" has confirmed that one out of every seven Christians in the world suffers high levels of persecution and discrimination for their faith.
The prime issue of unity is not to counteract persecution and discrimination but rather to fulfill the will of the Lord to be united. This view is lucidly elaborated in the Biblical verse, “For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes. There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:26-28)
Reflecting on the week of Christian unity, Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity Cardinal Koch has noted that good works and justice are indeed closely related. He said, “The foundation of all ecumenism is prayer for unity. We can do no better thing than to pray for unity, because people alone cannot effect unity.” He also recalled Pope Francis’ repeated invitation for Christians to “walk together, pray together, and work together.”
His Holiness Pope Francis has not missed any opportunity to highlight the importance of cementing Christian unity. He traveled to various parts of the world to attain this goal which attests to the desire of the Catholic Church to let this unity come into reality as soon as possible.
So long that Christian unity is the aspiration of all Christian peoples in the world, then immediate and strenuous action is needed to expeditiously set the wheel of Christian unity moving until achieving the final target, namely sincere Christian unity.
What is needed at the present time is to associate prayers with immediate actions needed to nail down a common understanding among the various Churches, brush aside differences, and start a new era of walking together hand-in-hand. So let us “do good and seek justice”, bring joy to the Christian masses worldwide by cementing Christian unity.
Cardinal Koch said, “We can find unity again in faith in Jesus Christ.” And that Holy Bible states, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
Christians have prayed for this unity, so we seek the divine to give them the power and courage to cement this unity so that no power can undermine such unity forever. Lord Jesus Christ addressed Saint Peter saying, " And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of hell shall not overpower it."