Reflection for the month - Brothers and SistersAnd where this comes from:
We invite you to join the Pope and Christians throughout the world in reflecting on his prayer intentions for this month:
It is an interesting fact that Jesus never tried to 'convert' people. When he healed the Roman centurion's servant, for example, he did not demand that the centurion become one of his followers. He simply commended him for his faith: 'Not even in Israel have I found faith as great a this' (Lk.7:9). Jesus did not try to convert the gentile Syrophoenician woman, but simply told her that her daughter would be cured (Mk. 7:24-30).
Rather, Jesus entered into dialogue with people of other faiths, sharing his story with them, reaching out to the mystery of God active in their lives. He was never coercive; nor should we be. The Good News of Christ's life, death and resurrection should give wings to the feet, and voice to the tongue. Christians of all denominations are called upon to share the Good News with one another, because they simply cannot bottle it up, not because they don't respect others' beliefs or think that other people cannot be saved. We cannot truly pray to God the Father of all if we treat people as other than sisters or brothers, for we are all created in God's image. Treating people in this respectful way fosters reconciliation and peace among peoples everywhere.
This week sees the start of the Octave of prayer for church unity. It has taken us centuries of misunderstandings to reach the point where Christian churches can dare to do that most obvious thing: pray together. Images like those of John Paul II praying in Canterbury with its Archbishop, or gathering the faith-leaders of the world in Assisi, have taught us so much. When we come close to those of other traditions, and know something of their riches, we can be grateful for the extraordinary fullness of Catholic tradition, and at the same time marvel at the uprightness of Presbyterians, the Friends' passion for peace, the openness of Hindus, the devotion of Moslems. This is the week when we ask our God to warm our hearts to take in all his children. If the chance arises, it is the week when we should pray with strangers, remembering St Peter's words (Acts 10,34): The truth I have come to realise is that God does not have favourites, but that anyone of any nationality who does what is right and fears God is acceptable to him.