In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost
In a secret prayer read by the priest at the beginning of the Liturgy it says,
using the words of St John Chrysostom, that if two or three agree together in
all things, the grace, the power and the presence of God will be in their midst.
What is it then, what are the words that are so decisive in this prayer? I think
it is not that two or three may agree from time to time, when they have a common
interest or the same feelings, but that they are prepared to be in agreement,
that is in harmony in all things, making the concerns of one the concerns of
all; considering the sins of each one as being our own responsibility and not
only the responsibility of those who sin; because if we were a true Christian
community, how much support, how much help would every member of it receive in
the struggle for integrity and life! So it is agreement, harmony in all things
that is the precondition of the presence of God with power and grace, with
exulting joy and love.
Already in his own time St Paul said, "Alas, there are divisions among you". And
these divisions destroy the unity which could be the place where God can act.
We must reflect on this very attentively because we cannot naturally,
spontaneously love everyone; we find it very difficult to understand one
another; we find it very difficult to bear one another's burdens, to endure each
other; we find it almost impossible to consider the sins of one or another
person as our own. And yet, if we respond to the shortcomings, the sins, indeed
the evil there may be in someone by rejecting that person, we find ourselves
separated from God, because God does not reject any one of us. God became one of
us at the cost of His incarnation, at the price He paid for love of us; not of
the righteous ones - did not He say, "It is only the sick who need a physician,
not those who are whole"? He came to share with that very sinner, with that
unbearable person whom we reject, with the very people with whom we are at
variance; He came to share not only our common humanity, but their destiny,
their agony, their struggles. It is not in vain that Isaiah speaking
prophetically of Christ, says that the weight of the sin of the whole world was
Let us reflect on this, because if we want to become what we are not - a
Christian community, a community of people who love one another earnestly, if
necessary sacrificially, whose love is prepared to go as far as crucifixion,
then we must learn a great deal about our attitude to each other. How can we
contemplate the vision of the Cross if we are not prepared to carry one
another's burdens, to identify in sympathy and compassion with each other?
How can we face the fact that God in His love gave His life for the lost while
we reject those for whom He died, ignore them, would like to rule them out of
our life because it would be so easy to live only with those people who are no
problem for us? By this rejection we become alien to God, not by any action of
His, or of anyone around us, but by our own free choice because we cannot accept
those for whom Christ lived and died.
Let us reflect on this, let us conquer everything in us that prevents us from
being at one with God, and then through this unity with God let us accept one
another even if it be at the cost of our lives. Amen.