Christians seek understanding

By  Miriam Punnoose, Catholic Register Special
  • February 23, 2007
Editor’s Note: this is a runner up in the Friars’ Student Writing Awards sponsored by Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and The Catholic Register. Miriam Punnoose, 17, is a Grade 12 student at All Saints Catholic Secondary School in Whitby, Ont.  The contest is held in conjunction with the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. This is the last of six winning essays The Register  will publish.

Our world today has definitely not turned out to be the way God planned. He wanted us to live in peace and harmony with one another, to be faithful to our religion and to be loyal to His teachings. Yet today, one appears to be only faithful to himself/herself and concentrates on his/her needs.

If this continues, the Word of the Lord will be forgotten and our religion will disintegrate. As Christians, we must come together and spread the Good News of Christ. We must come together to engage in ecumenical dialogue and seek mutual understanding and respect each others’ faith to achieve Christian unity.

To accomplish this we must “open our ears and loosen our tongues.” We must remember how Jesus listened without judgment and how He freely spoke about the Christian faith to others. We must imitate Christ. 

In Mark 7:31-37, Jesus encountered a man who was deaf and mute. When asked to cure this man, Jesus put his hands on the man’s ears and then spit and touched the man’s tongue. Jesus looked to the sky and said, “Ephphatha!”, which means “be opened,” and this caused the man’s ears to open and his tongue to become loose which allowed him to speak. This miracle made people believe and want to spread good news about Jesus to others. The people were able to talk together about Jesus and His actions. The people were united as one and this helped develop Christian unity because they all believed in the one, true Lord.

In order to open our ears and loosen our tongues, we must act in such a way that exemplifies how Jesus taught us to behave. What do we need to hear? We need to hear what other Christians have to say about their faith. Christians have similar ultimate beliefs but differ in the approach and practice of their faith. It is important to understand and appreciate other points of view within the Christian community.

What do we need to speak? We need to speak about what we have learned through our Christian faith, and demonstrate this in our churches, homes and in our daily actions.  We need to be accepting and welcoming of other Christians so that together we can understand and appreciate the roots of our differences. The resulting unity will be noticed by all. This would provoke other Christians, and maybe even those who are not Christians, to believe and share the news of the Lord. The outcomes of this would be: the glorification of God, the church of Christ would become one, and God’s children would live in agreement and kinship. This is how God wants us all to live.

Conclusively, if we can “open our ears and loosen our tongues,” then the world would be a better place to live with reduced self-absorption, unified social justice and peace and harmony for all. A united faith and the resulting spread of the Good News are essential components of God’s original plan for us.

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