The church always offers a worldwide prayer for unity among Christians. We pray that what we have in common may be made visible; and we pray that we don’t let our differences stop us from working for Christ’s kingdom, to bring help to those in need.
I’m glad I’m not John the Baptist. His message that we should repent, God is our king and Jesus is Lord might not come out as effectively with me. When my brothers from Poland visit me, or when I am home with them, the same disagreements we had growing up seem to come out. They do not always share the faith with me. As a priest, I could say to them, “repent from your bad ways, because if you don’t, you’re going to hell” — but that is not my place. My job is to demonstrate Christ’s love and how He is working in my life and the lives of people I know.
I see Tallassee as a very special town. I have never experienced such good relationships between different churches. Here in Tallassee, we are able to overcome differences and focus on what is important — people in need of material and spiritual assistance.
As a result, ACTS (Association for Christians in Tallassee for Service) is bringing help to hundreds of people every month. Why? Because everyone — no matter what church denomination — is supporting it.
But we all know very well unity is not an easy thing.
Just look in our own homes. How difficult is it to find agreements in our families? Everyone’s visions, goals and priorities so often seem to be so different and, in fact, against each other.
Unity begins with my efforts to better understand another person. And we must work to understand another’s motivations, desires, needs, fears or ambitions.
Unity continues with letting other people come before me.
Unity grows when I believe in other people. It comes when I believe in their good intentions, good hearts and when I’m ready to give something of myself from my territory for the sake of another person, or for the common good.
Even if I’m right, I don’t have the right to demand of others my “right” is always the only “right.”
The paradox is when we are willing to lose something, we gain often much more. That’s the logic of love. It is the love which is the first commandment of Christ; the love which is most difficult to live by.
Jesus showed us the fullest meaning of love. He lost everything for us. We didn’t deserve it, and we cannot pay it back. And as nice and uplifting as singing about Jesus’ love for us can be, walking the walk is not nearly as exciting.
In fact, it’s something similar to when He carried the Cross for you and me.
Maybe it is time for you to reach out to someone with whom you are in a disagreement. Maybe it is time to forgive offenses done to you long ago. Maybe it is time to reunite with family members that go to a different church.
Whatever it is, we cannot do it without God’s help.
Heavenly Father, you sent your Son to reunite us with You. Give to me from His Spirit so I, too, may strive for more unity and forgiveness in my life. In Jesus’ name we pray! Let all God’s people say, “Amen.”
Father Mateusz Rudzik is the pastor of St. Vincent de Paul church in Tallassee and St. Joseph church and school in Tuskegee. The native of Poland is also an avid adventurer, skydiver, motorcyclist and skateboarder.