Office for Christian Unity
Thursday 26 October 2023
Christ looks upon us with love
During the ecumenical prayer vigil of World Youth Day at the Church of São Domingos in Lisbon on 3 August 2023, we heard a story from the Gospel according to St Luke that Jesus gives in response to the question asked by a Scripture scholar: “Who is my neighbour? […]
This story invites us to discover that Christ looks at us with love. In him, God draws close to wounded humanity. He does not come to condemn, but to heal and cure. And he invites us to do the same.
Yes, we can welcome Christ’s mercy and allow ourselves to be sent to those who are wounded. Like the Samaritan, let us not be afraid to approach those who are abandoned by the side of our roads. I am thinking in particular of the migrants who are ever more numerous throughout the world.
After the story, an unexpected change occurs, as Jesus asks the Scripture expert: “Which of these three do you think was the neighbour of the man who was attacked?” The neighbour is no longer just the one I am called to love, help or rescue, but the one who is there to love, help and rescue.
We can also draw a beautiful appeal from this text when we think of Christian unity. If we are brothers and sisters in Christ, how can we fail to see an urgent call to be reconciled, to heal the wounds of our divisions, to come together to help those who suffer?
Prepared by our Berlin brothers and sisters
To be adapted according to your location
On Wednesday 18 October 2023, more than 60 churches and Christian associations in German-speaking countries joined together online in the “Deutschland betet” (Germany prays) initiative for an ecumenical prayer for peace in the Holy Land.
Lord, in this apparently hopeless situation of conflict between the two peoples of your Promised Land, we pray to you for a spirit of discernment and wisdom among political leaders, and for a spirit of consolation, hope and forgiveness among the survivors of the victims of violence on both sides.
In connection with the current situation in the Middle East, anti-Semitic ideas and acts are also on the increase in Germany. A synagogue in Berlin was attacked this week and the Jewish community continues to be threatened.
Lord, we pray to you for peaceful and understanding coexistence between the different ideological and religious groups in Germany. Give us all a spirit of tolerance and mutual respect to prevent the spread of hatred.
On 31 October, we celebrate Reformation Day in Germany. We think in particular of our Lutheran brothers and sisters. We also thank you for our brother Oliver Matri, who has been working in Berlin since September 2023 as the first Protestant vicar of the Chemin Neuf Community in Germany.
Lord, we pray for ecumenism in Germany. Bless all the initiatives between the various Protestant Churches and the Catholic Church. Give us your spirit of unity and love for one another. May Oliver also be a sign and instrument of your unity, wherever you call him.