The theme of this year’s week of prayer was taken from the First Letter of Paul to the Corinthians: “Is Christ divided?”
“This spiritual and most precious initiative has involved Christian communities for more than one hundred years. It is a time dedicated to prayer for the unity of all the baptized, in keeping with the will of Christ: “that they may all be one’”, the Pope said.
Referring to the theme, the Holy Father said that while certainly Christ was not divided, sadly Christian communities continue to live divided. “The divisions among us Christians are a scandal. There is no other word: a scandal,” he said.
Divisions, he stressed, only serve to weaken the credibility of the evangelization and would thus “risk emptying the Cross of its power.”
The Holy Father reflected on Paul’s reproaching of the community of Corinth, who each claimed to be of a different apostle, whereas Paul said that he was “of Christ.”
“Despite the suffering of the divisions, which unfortunately still remain, let us receive Paul’s words as an invitation to rejoice sincerely for the graces granted by God to other Christians: let us recognize it and rejoice,” the Pope said.
Concluding his brief catechesis, Pope Francis called on the faithful gathered to find in other Christians something that we are in need of in our lives. Doing so, he said, “requires much prayer, humility, reflection and constant conversion.”
“Let us go forward on this path, praying for the unity of Christians, so that this scandal may cease and be no longer with us,” the Pope concluded.