The week between the Confession of St. Peter (Jan. 18) & the Conversion of St. Paul (Jan. 25) is called the week for prayer for Christian Unity.
Day 1, One Has Died For All (2 Corinthians 5:14)
- Isaiah 53:4-12, He gave his life as an atoning sacrifice.
- Psalm 118:1,14-29, God did not abandon me to death.
- 1 John 2:1-2, Christ died for all.
- John 15:13-17, Giving his life for his friends.
When Paul was converted to Christ he came to a radical new understanding: one person has died for all. Jesus did not just die for his own people, nor merely for those who sympathized with his teachings. He died for all people, past, present and future. Faithful to the Gospel, many Christians down the centuries have laid down their lives for their friends. One such person was the Franciscan Maximilian Kolbe, OFM Conv., who was imprisoned in the concentration camp at Auschwitz and who in 1941 willingly gave up his life so that a fellow prisoner could live.
Because Jesus died for all, all have died with him (2 Corinthians 5:14). In dying with Christ our old way of life becomes a thing of the past and we enter into a new form of existence: abundant life — a life in which we can experience comfort, trust and forgiveness, even today — a life which continues to have meaning even after death. This new life is life in God.
Having come to this realization, Paul felt compelled by the love of Christ to preach the Good News of reconciliation with God. Christian churches share in this same commission of proclaiming the Gospel message. We need to ask ourselves how we can proclaim this gospel of reconciliation in view of our divisions.
God our Father, in Jesus you gave us the one who died for all. He lived our life and died our death. You accepted his sacrifice and raised him to new life with you. Grant that we, who have died with him, may be made one by the Holy Spirit and live in the abundance of your divine presence now and for ever. Amen.