The prayer of Jesus, “Holy Father, may they all be one”, is particularly poignant today. In other years we would be remembering St Joseph the Worker. How many Australian young people were bought up with the prayer “St Joseph, a worker like me”?
May 1 became the battle day in the last century between labour and capital and one person who sought to bridge the gap, motivated in part by the teaching of Jesus about the dignity of labour, particularly young labourers, was Joseph Cardijn the founder of the YCW.
An international conference on his legacy and a review of current Cardijn inspired works, begins in Chennai next week. I am heading there. In the meantime, HK is readying for a long weekend with all China to celebrate May Day. What timing!
The call of Jesus to be one “as you are in me and I am in you” is a lofty and mysterious invitation. Our world, let alone our Church, is divided by so many issues. Dealing with the fallout from sexual abuse is not simply between leader and led but also about the role of Church and place of Church in our world. Such tensions are not new. We celebrated the Feast of St Catherine of Sienna last Friday. Her journey was atypical. So many of our canonised Saints seemed to withdraw from the world but Catherine was called from her secluded choice to enter public life. She was instrumental in encouraging Pope Gregory to reform the Clergy and the administration of the Papal States. She was instrumental in bringing peace between the warring City States. Shades of the current Pope; and all this beginning in the year 1370. As usual, we all caught up with her in 1970 when Paul VI made her a Doctor of the Church!
The great sign of the early Christians was “see how they love one another.” Also the Acts reveal for a short time the oneness of the believers. Tensions and divisions arose, sometimes resolved, often discord prevailed for some time.
Let us pray and work for unity in our time.