Sunday, June 8, 2014
Pope Francis in his trip to Israel and Palestine invited the two presidents to visit the Vatican for a prayer meeting for peace. The Peace Weekly column, in the recent issue, mentioned the two leaders have accepted the invitation, and will be present at the Vatican today, Pentecost Sunday, praying for peace.
During the trip to the Near East, we also had the decision of Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew, the primary leader of the Eastern Orthodox Christians, to meet in modern-day Turkey at Nicaea where the Church had the first Ecumenical Council: a meeting with prospects for unity of the two largest segments of Christianity. It will be the 1700 anniversary of the Ecumenical Meeting in Nicaea.
In Nicaea we have the Church agreeing on the creed that we recite after the sermon on Sundays. "I believe in One God, the Father Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth and of all things visible and invisible." In 381 AD we have an addition about the Holy Spirit.
During this trip the meeting of the two Palestine and Israel leaders at the Vatican to pray for peace and the meeting in 2025 for the reunion of the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches are truly golden opportunities for change. The Columnist calls these two opportunities gifts from Pope Francis. A gift, he says, always depends how it is received and used.
The visit of Pope Francis to Korea in about two months has three reasons, often reported in the media: to attend the Asian Youth Meeting, the beatification of the 124 martyrs and to pray for peace on the peninsula. There are many who are hoping for other results besides the events. The journalist also hopes for other gifts to come from the visit. Pope Francis is always full of surprises.He hopes we will not refuse the gifts offered.
Today on the Feast of Pentecost we celebrate the birthday of the Church. The day the Church left the locked doors behind, the fear and indecision, and went out into the roads and mixed with the people convinced they were the messengers of good news for the whole world. They were convinced they had a mission and that they were given the help to carry out the mission with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This is the gift that God has given us to be his instruments of peace and joy.