St. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, “there are varieties of gifts, varieties of ministries, varieties of effects.” What St. Paul is telling us is that unity among us does not mean sameness.

Such was certainly not the case with the early disciples.  There were differences,   disagreement, and disputes among them.  And one of the most beautiful things about the New Testament is its honesty.  There is no attempt at covering up. When James and John were arguing over who should have first place in the Kingdom of God, the Gospel reports it just as it happened.  When Paul and Barnabas came to a parting of the ways over whether John Mark should rejoin their mission team, the Bool of Acts tells it like it was. 

The New Testament, if you haven’t discovered it already, is such an open and honest report that the writers felt no embarrassment over differences within their group.  Of course, not all the differences were argumentative in nature.  Some of them were just different patterns of thought and different styles of expression.

St. Paul reminded the Corinthians as he reminds us today that they are not alike.  Each has a different talent with which to serve the Lord.  He compared it to a human body.  That the body is a single unit, but it has many different parts, fulfilling many different functions.

So, it is with the Church and so it is with a parish. There are all kinds of people with all kinds of talents and capabilities and personalities.  It isn’t necessary or even desirable that we all think alike to serve Christ.

But it is necessary for us to have a mutual cause and that cause is to serve Jesus.  This is what tied the Apostles together in all their differences.  They were deeply committed to Christ and His cause. The purpose of the Church and the parish is to carry on the work of Jesus today.

You and I need to be certain that our primary commitment is to Christ and not to self.  If we get that part right and keep it right, then we live and work in unity despite all of our differences and disagreements. 

Yet, in order for this to happen, there must be mutual respect.  Let us go back to the analogy of the human body.  If the body is healthy and functioning properly, each member respects and works together.  Then the hand doesn’t seek to hurt the foot.  In fact, if the foot is injured, then the hand will bandage it and care for it until it is well.

That lesson has been in the New Testament for a very long time, and yet, it seems sometimes that we have not paid attention to it. When we learn to respect each other, not in spite if our differences, but because of them?

It’s a wonderful thing that we are not all alike.  I need you and you need me for the simple fact that we are different.  If we ever learn to accept and respect each other for who we are, we will have taken a step towards Christian unity as a Church and as a parish.

We need to ask the Holy Spirit to help us be one. We know that He was sent by God to bring us together in one place with one accord.  That is what we hope and pray for our parish.  You are very important to bring it about.  Will you help?