Has Christ been divided? (1 Cor 1:13)

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Of course, Christ was not divided. But we should recognize with sincerity and pain that our communities continue to live in division that is scandalous. Division among us Christians is a scandal. There is no other word: a scandal. “Each one of you,” St Paul wrote, “says, ‘I belong to Paul,” or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ’I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ’” (1:12).

Even those who professed Christ as their leader were not applauded by Paul, because they used the name of Christ to separate themselves from others within the Christian community. But the name of Christ creates communion and unity, not division! He came to bring communion among us, not to divide us.

Baptism and the Cross are central elements of the Christian discipleship which we share. Division, however, weakens the credibility and effectiveness of our work in evangelization and risks stripping the Cross of its power (cf. 1 Cor 1:17).

Paul rebukes the Corinthians for their disputes, but he also gives thanks to the Lord “because of the grace of God which was given you in Christ Jesus, that in every way you were enriched in him with all speech and all knowledge” (1 Cor 1:4-5). These words of Paul are not a mere formality, but a sign that he sees primarily — and for this he sincerely rejoices — the gifts given by God to the community. The Apostle’s attitude is an encouragement for us and for every Christian community to joyfully recognize God’s gifts in other communities. Despite the suffering of division, which sadly still exist, let us welcome the words of St Paul as an invitation to sincerely rejoice for the graces God has given to other Christians. We have the same Baptism, the same Holy Spirit who gave us the Grace: let us recognize it and rejoice in it.

It is beautiful to recognize the grace with which God blesses us and, still more, to find in other Christians something we need, something that we could receive like a gift from our brothers and our sisters. The group from Canada who prepared the texts for this Week of Prayer did not invite communities to think about what they could give to their neighbour Christians, but urged them to meet with one another in order to understand what they all can receive each from the others. This requires something more. It requires much prayer, it requires humility, it requires reflection and continual conversion. Let us go forward on this path, praying for the unity of Christians, that this scandal lessens and that it may cease among us. – Papa Francis

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Man is endangering both himself and the world!

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“Man is in any case incapable of mastering history by his own power. Man is clearly in danger, and he is endangering both himself and the world; we could even say we have scientific evidence of this. Man can be saved only when moral energies gather strength in his heart; energies that can come only from the encounter with God; energies of resistance.

We therefore need him, the Other, who helps us be what we ourselves cannot be; and we need Christ, who gathers us into a communion that we call the Church.” – Papa Benedict XVI

To the Eastern traditions and to the Western traditions

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…This appeal calls on the Churches of the East and the West to concentrate on the essential: “We cannot come before Christ, the Lord of history, as divided as we have unfortunately been in the course of the second millennium. These divisions must give way to rapprochement and harmony; the wounds on the path of Christian unity must be healed.”

Going beyond our own frailties, we must turn to him, the one Teacher, sharing in his death so as to purify ourselves from that jealous attachment to feelings and memories, not of the great things God has done for us, but of the human affairs of a past that still weighs heavily on our hearts. May the Spirit clarify our gaze so that together we may reach out to contemporary man who is waiting for the good news. If we make a harmonious, illuminating, life – giving response to the world’s expectations and sufferings, we will truly contribute to a more effective proclamation of the Gospel among the people of our time. – John Paul II

Kindly do not divide the church or segregate her members.

divideJesus rebuked the Pharisees for knowing the commandments, but not implementing them in their lives. If they are not practicing what they say, not only do they not serve us, but they hurt : they deceive us , they make us believe that we have a beautiful home, but without a foundation.

A Christian word without Christ at its centre leads to vanity, to pride, power for the sake of power. Anyone who utters Christian words without putting them into practice hurts oneself and others, because they are based on pride and cause division in the Church.

Do well to examine our own consciences to see whether our Christian words are indeed Christ centred because when they are not, they divide us from ourselves and divide the Church.

Lord is our foundation.Our rock is Jesus Christ. The Lord, breaks down these people who believe themselves to be the Rock.  – Papa Francis

Isn’t Christmas on December 25th a continuation of the pagan holiday?

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December 25th was indeed a pagan holiday. In ancient ages many new converts yielded to temptation to keep that feast. It seems that Christian leaders endeavored to counteract that practice by giving believers a Christian festival on the same day, celebrating the birth of Christ. Some churches in our day conduct special banquets or other attractions for their high school seniors on the night of the senior prom for much the same motive. Certainly the celebration of Christmas is not a continuation of the pagan holiday. It is a unique Christian observance hailing the birth of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, December 25 is especially fitting in that it comes four days after the winter solstice. As the days grow longer with more light, Christians rejoice in the hope of the world in the birth of him who called himself the Light of the World. G. H. Montgomery wrote, “Church leaders saw in the birth of Jesus a triumph of light over darkness, spring over winter and of life over death. What more appropriate time could have been selected to commemorate the birth of the Man whose life, teachings and vicarious death were to change the trends of history, cause light to shine out of darkness and offer light to those who dwell in the valley of death! It will be good to keep these things in mind as you observe Christmas.”

God isn’t against Christmas. God is in favor of Christmas—of the proper observance of the holiday, that is. God planned and executed the first Christmas. No matter how flagrantly men may abuse this holiday, they cannot rob devout believers of its wonder and glory as expressed by the angel of old, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10, 11).

Ref# Raymond L. Cox., Answers In Action.

December 25th is the wrong date for Christmas.

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Probably it is. There is one chance in 365 (or 366 if Jesus was born, as some suppose, in a leap year) that the date is correct. But because we do not know the date, must we ignore Christ’s birth? We don’t know for sure in what year Jesus came. Yet we mark our calendars according to anno domini (AD). We do know for sure that Jesus was not born in the year one of the Christian era, for Herod the Great died in what we call 4 BC! Shall we junk our calendars and stop keeping track of dates just because the year marked AD is incorrect?

Jesus’ birth probably did not take place in December. But those who insist it could not have taken place in December go too far. They argue that shepherds could not have been in their fields as it was the height of the rainy season. However, weather is a variable quantity and the Palestinian climate is quite mild. The particular December—if it was December—could have been a warm, rather dry, month. But what if Jesus was born instead in January, March, April or October, as has been suggested? Would that make God object to the observance on December 25?

Secular events are sometimes observed on dates different from their occurrences. England’s late King George VI annually proclaimed a date in June for the celebration of his birthday, but he was born on December 14th. His people did not rebel, because they celebrated his birth and not just its date!

Ref# Raymond L. Cox, Answers In Action

Is God against Christmas?

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What’s wrong with the use of the word Christmas?

The ecumenical atmosphere which seems prevalent in many religious circles today tends to muffle this objection, but it will be heard this year and next and probably for a long time to come. The objection to the name pertains to its derivation. Christmas is obnoxious to some because it represents the combination of two words, “Christ” and “mass.” The word means “the mass of Christ.”

But what does “mass” really mean in the compound word Christmas? Any authoritative dictionary will reveal that the English term mass evolved from the Anglo-Saxon word maesse, which derived in turn from the Latin missa, which is a form of the verb mittere, which means “to send.”

Consequently, the root meaning of Christ-mass is “to send Christ,” or “Christ is sent.”

Is God against describing the coming of His son with a word meaning “Christ is sent”? Did not Paul refer to Immanuel’s incarnation as the sending of Christ? “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4). Moreover, the Savior spoke often of “him who sent me.” There is nothing inherently obnoxious in the name Christmas. The term accurately represents what the holiday is all about or should be—the sending of Christ.

Ref# Raymond L. Cox.