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(Part 1)



September 12, 2016

My dear brethren, our theme for 2017 is “One in Christ.” Our theme verse is Romans 12:5, which says, “so we, though many, are one body in Christ and individually parts of one another.”

We are one people of God, one holy Catholic Church, one army of God. We look to our one Father, our one Lord, and the one Spirit. We have one call to holiness and discipleship, to which we continue to strive through the abounding mercy of God. “I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship.” (Rom 12:1).

At the same time, the one body is diverse. The call is to unity in diversity. “For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function” (Rom 12:4). Thus in CFC-FFL we have many different tasks, but all geared toward the fulfillment of the one vision and mission. In parishes there are different ministries; in the Church there are different Catholic organizations, new ecclesial movements, and religious congregations. In the body there is a diversity of spiritual gifts, but all intended to support the one Church in her mission. “Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us exercise them; ....” (Rom 12:6-8).

Such diversity many times poses great challenges. Workers can lose sight of the larger vision, of the good of the whole, of subordinating their interests and preferences for the good of all. At times, the diversity leads to strife and even division. At times, the enemy is within.

What can hold the body together as one? It is fraternal love, and living as true disciples of the Lord Jesus. We are “to love one another with mutual affection” (Rom 12:10a). We are to focus on and be zealous for the one mission. “Do not grow slack in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.” (Rom 12:11). We are to “persevere in prayer.” (Rom 12:12c). We are to be merciful. “Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse them.” (Rom 12:14). We are to humble ourselves, and “not be haughty but associate with the lowly” (Rom 12:16b). We are to be peacemakers, and “live at peace with all.” (Rom 12:18b). We are to avoid all forms of evil and look only to what is right and just and true. “Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.” (Rom 12:21).

We are one in Christ.

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