“Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh” (Mt 2:11)
The gifts of communion.
Readings for Day 7 of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
In our journey to Bethlehem, the city of bread, we contemplate the wise men who came to pay homage to the Christ-child. They opened their treasures, and offered the new-born king their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Our historical divisions, our wrong–headed fixation with rules and rituals, and our preoccupation with worldly matters, have broken us apart. So, what gifts have we prepared to offer to the king who comes to illuminate our lives and lead us to the grace of unity? We know that God does not want our riches or burnt offerings, but rather that his power works through our poverty: “I have no silver or gold”. The Lord desires our beating and loving hearts: hearts full of love for Him and for our brothers and sisters in Christ from whom we are separated; hearts flowing with acts of mercy; and hearts truly penitent and desiring change.
Let us then prepare for him the gift of a heart full of love. Kneeling in worship requires hearts that are contrite for the sin that divides us and obedient to the One we serve. This obedience revives, heals and reconciles everything that is broken or wounded in us, around us, and among us as Christians. Christ has already given the gift of unity to his Church. We grow in communion as we share the graces our different traditions have received, acknowledging that the source of all our gifts is the Lord.
All praise, glory and thanksgiving to you, O God. You have revealed yourself in the epiphany of your Son both to those who have long awaited your coming, and to those who were not expecting you. You know the suffering that surrounds us, the pain caused by our divisions. You see the world struggling and the deteriorating situation in the Middle East today – the place where you chose to be born, which was sanctified by your presence. We ask you to enable our hearts and our minds to know you. As we join the wise men coming from afar, we pray that you open our hearts to your love and to the love of our brothers and sisters around us. Give us the will and the means to work towards the transformation of this world and to offer each other gifts that may nurture our communion. Grant us your endless gifts and blessings. Receive our prayer in the name of your Son Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.