A reporter asked the three tenors Jose Carreras, Placido Domingo, and Luciano Pavarotti about rivalry between them. They said there was none, but the reporter wasn’t satisfied and kept picking away at the issue. Then Domingo explained, “You have to put all of your concentration into opening your heart to the music. You can’t be rivals when you’re together making music.”
On the 18th, we begin the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. That the different Christian churches together agree to set aside one week for intensive prayer and action for Christian unity shows that they all feel the need for more unity among believers in Christ. The World Christian Encyclopedia documents 34,000 different Christian denominations. The figure keeps rising. Many Christian churches today spend much of their resources not in spreading the Good News of Jesus but in fighting and cannibalizing other Christian churches. To maintain their identity and show that they are distinct from other Christian churches, they emphasize their differences rather that the things they have in common. They forget that as Christians we are called to make music together in the world. Sadly, this even happens in the Catholic Church, as Pope Francis reminds us often.
Many folks feel uneasy when they hear of Christian unity. They fear it means putting everyone into the same mold, the same form of worship, the same way of serving God. No, Christian unity is not Christian uniformity … this holds between denominations and within denominations. God gives His children varieties of gifts. Each denomination, including the Catholic Church, has its own unique charism given for the good of all. We forget that everything works together for the honor and glory of God.
Jesus, may we all learn to make music together … and especially we ask your help in our Catholic Church. May the music in our hearts and souls bring you glory and honor and praise, until that day when we are all gathered as one great choir to sing your praise.
Much love … many prayers!
Fr. Herb, C.S.C.