教区管理者 APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATOR
Joint Prayer Assembly of The SeiKoKai Church and The Catholic Church
|Catholic Kawagoe Church|
FIRST READING: Ezekiel 36 : 24-28
GOSPEL: John 17 : 1a, 20-26
To all of you from the SeiKoKai Churches, welcome to Catholic Kawagoe Church, and thank you for coming all the way.
The chapter 17 of the Holy Gospel according to John we read today, tells us “the prayers” that Jesus left to his disciples just before he departed from the world.
“That they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17 : 21)
We assembled here in Catholic Kawagoe Church and are praying together. It is because in order to respond to Jesus’ prayer. It is for us to pray and join hands in order to meet his wish of “they may all be one” as much as possible.
In order to be one, we have to be united under the same Jesus Christ. Yes, we have no other choice than to do this for us to reach an agreement.
Needless to say, there are a variety of differences between us. But “to be one” doesn’t mean to vanish our differences. Instead, we accept the differences and respect each other, and cherish and cooperate each other in order to fight against the evils of this world.
Jesus prays in this same prayer as follows:
“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.” (John 17 : 14-15).
Jesus prayed for us to be protected from evil. We say Lord’s prayer every day praying “lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” We ourselves have to respond to Jesus’ prayer and keep fighting against evils.
I think that, in this fight, discrimination and battle are included. It is the mission of Jesus’ disciples to take off any kind of discrimination.
Also, it is the most important mission to fight against evil called violence. The biggest evil among violence is war.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.” (Matthew 5 : 9)
This word of our Lord Jesus is announced in the world, the word to encourage all people to build up peace. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Japan issued the message “Blessed are the peacemakers – Now especially, peace must not depend upon weapons” , on the 70th Anniversary of the End of the War (February 25th, 2015). Because of our miserable experiences of World War II, we determined firmly never to begin war again, and have walked through these 70 years by declaring to the world our determination to abandon war and renounce the use of force as a means to settle disputes.
The war-renouncing ideal is the ultimate goal that Jesus’ Gospel is demanding to all of us, which all of us should aim at and follow.
The book of the prophet Isaiah says as follows:
“they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Isaiah 2 : 4)
How huge amount of money might have been spent on war, armaments, and weapons. But “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks,” means disarmament, turning weapons into tools for peace and happiness. This is the ideal of mankind. The reality is far from this ideal, but we have to walk towards this ideal.
In order to abandon weapons, disarmament of our mind should be accompanied first. The disarmament of mind means to give birth to trust and friendship among us, cultivate and breed it. The Crucifix of Jesus Christ destroyed the walls separating between the nations. Why don’t we, as the same children of God, pray together and learn together from the Crucifix?
To work for peace is a result of accumulation of daily prayer and deed. By learning from the Crucifix of Christ, let’s walk together by bearing the pain and misery one another, and sharing the joy and hope each other. I believe that is the way toward peace by Christians.
[All the Scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition (NRSVCE), copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.]