Angela Tabucan Photo by Ruane Remy

A call to unity [2015 winning entry for the Friars' Essay Contest]

By  Angela Tabucan, Catholic Register Special
  • January 29, 2015

Editor’s note: this is the winning essay in the annual contest for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity sponsored by The Catholic Register and the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement-Graymoor. Angela Grace Tabucan is in Grade 12 at St. Brother André Catholic High School in Markham, Ont.

Often in our world Catholics tend to have a great discomfort when talking about or communicating with those of other Christian denominations. John 4:1-42 tells of Jesus and the woman of Samaria, and shows Jesus reaching out of His own Jewish community to speak with this woman. Christ is always found seeking community with others and when we embrace Christian unity we further grow in communion, strength and in love with Him.

Jesus’ life is a major reflection of Christian unity. Scripture says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galations 3:28). Christ did not make Himself available to a select group of people but became a walking invitation for all to partake in His fullness as brothers and sisters. In the Bible Jesus seeks out all people to welcome them to Himself. Tax collectors, prostitutes and fishermen, all whom He not only befriended but truly loved. In this same way He calls us not only to engage with other Christians but to authentically look to them as our brothers and sisters.

Especially in our world today, we as believers need to form a united front. We have spent much time looking at what divides us rather than who unites us. This is not to say that these differences should be ignored, but rather, we need to prioritize. There is spiritual warfare at our doorsteps and we as Christians have been commissioned by God together. We are the continuation of His work and God being rich in love has given us one another to try to accomplish that. We need to begin to embrace this gift rather than fear it.

As Christians we have a great joy of knowing the love of Christ. His life, death and resurrection unite us to this love and we are called to share it with all around us. After the woman encounters Jesus at the well she immediately went to the people and all began to come to Him. This is what God has commissioned us to do; to bring Christ to all so that they may come to Him. This is a universal call to love from our Father and our faith requires us to reach beyond our personal comfort, to other Christians and all we meet.

Christ has come into this world out of great love for us all. Even if there was only one person on this Earth He still would have come. Christ is far more concerned with our hearts and souls than He is with our denomination. As a Church, Christian unity should be important to us because they too are invited to God’s heavenly banquet. So let us be open to Christian unity for it moves us to grow in communion with others, helps us to strive after the love we’ve been called to and strengthens our relationship with the reason why we have unity at all.