VATICAN CITY, JAN. 14, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is based this year on reflections prepared by a group of Christian leaders from Jerusalem. The mediations invite the faithful to contemplate the first Christian community there, the Church of Jerusalem yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Materials for the Week of Prayer are provided by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at the Vatican (Web site.
The introduction to this year’s meditation reflects how the first disciples of Christ, gathered in Jerusalem, experienced the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and were “joined together in unity as the body of Christ.”
“In that event,” it adds, “Christians of every time and place see their origin as a community of the faithful, called together to proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. […] It is not difficult to see how the situation of the first Christians in the Holy City mirrors that of the church in Jerusalem today. The current community experiences many of the joys and sorrows of the early church; its injustice and inequality, and its divisions, but also its faithful perseverance, and recognition of a wider unity among Christians.
“The churches in Jerusalem today offer us a vision of what it means to strive for unity, even amid great problems. They show us that the call to unity can be more than mere words, and indeed that it can point us toward a future where we anticipate and help build the heavenly Jerusalem.”
Benedict XVI will follow tradition and close the Week of Prayer at vespers on Jan. 25, feast of the conversion of St. Paul.
This year, he will also emphasize his concern for unity by participating in the 25th anniversary of the first interreligious meeting of prayer for peace, convoked in 1986 in Assisi by Pope John Paul II.
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