Day Five: Love that unites and binds together into community.

Opening Prayer: Loving Father, when your Son Jesus Christ was lifted high on the cross, He gave His life for us, so much did He love us. From His wounded side flowed blood and water, the fountain of sacramental life in the Church. To His open heart your Son invites all, to draw water with joy from the springs of salvation. Help us to respond generously to His invitation. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Scripture Reading: Eph. 4: 11-16 Through Jesus the whole body grows, and builds itself up in love

John 10: 14-16 There shall be one flock and one shepherd

Reflection: Sin disrupts unity. In sinning we go our own way and disregard the rights of others and our obligations to others. There are too many gaps, divisions in the world, gaps between rich and poor, black and white, Christian and Christian, Christians and Muslims. This is not what God wills or wants!

Jesus came and comes to bring us together into one family. In His vision there will be one flock and one shepherd. Jesus called and gathered his apostles and disciples. His love united them. After the Resurrection, His Holy Spirit kept them together. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read that they were of one heart and one soul (Acts 4:32).

We are to imitate the love of the Sacred Heart, and be a source of unity and peace in our family and our community. First of all, in our families. If we truly love our children, and our brothers and sisters, we not only pray for them but with them. The family that prays together, stays together.

There is a story about the father who took his son regularly to football games. This took time and cost money. One day, a neighbor asked him: Do you like football games that much? The father answered, No, but I love my son that much. Love involves sacrificing our own interest for the good of others. Like the Good Shepherd, we lay down our life for others. If we love someone, we want to remain close to that person. In the African proverb, if someone loves you, he or she comes to your home.

Resolution/Practice: 1. Reflect on how you might regularly practice or improve your practice of family prayer.

2. Write or visit a friend whom you have not been in touch with. Jesus prayed that we may be one (John 17: 21-23)

3. Say the Rosary or other prayers for unity among all Christians and among all men and women of good will.

4. Make a special new effort to be reunited, reconciled with someone from whom you are estranged or alienated.

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