There is a common misconception that unity and individuality are mutually exclusive realities. This could not be further from the truth! One of the words that we use to describe the nature of the Church ‘catholic,’ meaning ‘universal’ captures the reality that the Church has a universal nature,- meaning that it is able to bring together under the one banner many diverse and even different expressions of the one faith in Jesus Christ. There is not just one way to be a Christian. The living out of the Gospel in the world can be done in many and varied ways, all equally legitimate, provided that certain fundamental aspects of the faith are not compromised. This is where the need for unity comes in.

The author of the Letter to the Ephesians calls for unity among the community in Ephesus because he knows that where disunity prevails there will be division among the Body of Christ. This is not acceptable to God! Disunity is one of the biggest if not the biggest hindrance to the proclamation of the Gospel today! We must do all that we can to preserve the unity of the Body of Christ, and where there is division, to work tirelessly to repair and heal the problems and disagreements.

Unity is a work of the Holy Spirit. Division of a group in an acrimonious way cannot be the work of the Holy Spirit! I do not have any time for the idea that such and such a split is group or community X was God’s will! No it was not! There is sin at the bottom of all disunity, not the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the healer of our souls, not the divider of our communities! In John’s Gospel we constantly hear a call to be one in witness to Christ and the work of the Gospel. Let us heed this call and do all we can to preserve unity and work together with one another in bringing about the Kingdom of God. When Jesus comes again there will not be a heaven for you and a heaven for me – there is only one heaven and so we may as well begin unifying ourselves now than wait for the suffering of purgatory to accomplish this task!

What am I doing to contribute to the unity of the communities to which I belong? Am I a force for unity or division? If the latter, when am I going to repent and change?

Holy Spirit, work through me to bring unity to the Church and the groups within the Church. Help me to always be a minister of unity and never a source of division and contention.