Saturday in the Fifth Week of Lent
As a Jesuit, I do not see my family too often. We speak on the phone with some regularity, but ministerial activities prevent me from seeing members of my immediate family more than about once a year. Moreover, my family, like many US families, is scattered throughout the country. Of the five members of my immediate family, we are divided among four states ranging from the West Coast to the Midwest. Therefore, when we get together, the visit is particularly precious. All the more so when we can gather with relatives from the extended family. The moments of seeing the faces of those who I have not seen in one or a few years hold a unique place in my heart, and I find them to be a great consolation.
It is a consolation of this kind, though magnified to a much greater degree, that the Lord promises through the prophet Ezekiel. “I will take the children of Israel from among the nations to which they have come, and gather them from all sides to bring them back to their land.” (Ez 37:21) This promise of unity is all the greater because the Lord is to be the cause of it. John describes the unintentional prophecy of Caiaphas in much the same way. “He prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God.” (Jn 11:51-52)
Already in this life we get to participate in this promise. The sacrifice of Christ brings all those whom He sanctifies together into one in Him. As we draw closer to Christ, we draw closer to all those united to Him. Having been to Mass outside of my home state, outside of the country, sometimes in languages which I do not quite understand, (or do not understand at all!) I can testify to this unity. Even when in cities where I felt quite out of place, when I prayed together with others before Christ lifted up in the Eucharist, there was a sense of unity and familiarity that can only be the result of the Lord’s grace. This, of course, is only a small foretaste of the blessed unity with Himself and with others that God wants to grant us for all eternity. Let us seek with sincerity the Spirit of the Lord, and seek to foster in our daily lives the unity which Christ offers us.