This has been a week where we have remembered different aspects and values of our life. Monday, we honored the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. his belief in God made him work for social justice and bring about new conditions and relationships for African Americans and for all Americans. He gave his all to make it possible for all people to consider themselves as brothers and sisters to each other under God. Wednesday was the Inauguration Day where the new terms of office of the president and vice-president officially began at noon in Washington DC. It is both significant and important. It demonstrates the peaceful transfer of power. And today, it is a “Day of Prayer for the Legal Protection of Unborn Children.”
All these celebrations are framed in this week where Catholics are called to pray for Christian Unity. The theme this year is taken from the gospel of John: “Abide in my love… You shall bear much fruit.” (John 15:1-17). Here, Jesus reminds His disciples that He is the vine and we are the branches. If we abide in Him, in Jesus, we will be such a healthy branch as to bear much fruit, abundant grapes. Jesus manifests this in his references to loving one another: “Abide in my love.” The image of branches helps us understand that we are all diverse as individuals, but brought together in the one Vine, who is Christ alive. We heard in today’s Gospel that Jesus appointed twelve to be with Him and He sent them forth to bring abundant life to all people.
Today, as disciples of Jesus Christ, God is appointing us to preach and build the Reign of God to a needy world; a world that is in need of life, love, and hope. God is inviting us, in our own way, to take the Gospel’s values, step out in faith and action, and be instruments of change in our society where change needs to happen. It is difficult to change and work for change, particularly when we are comfortable with the status quo. Yet, if God moves us to change, we must follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Because, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “we must learn to live together as brothers and sisters… Hate is a very heavy burden.”