18-25-January-2013, Body of Christ, Catholic Church, Christ, Christian, Christian Church, Christianity, Church, Dalit, Dalit Christian, Ecumenism, Faith, God, Jesu, Pharaoh, Pontifical Council, Samaritan woman at the well, Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, World Council of Churches
What does God require of us? (cf. Micah 6:6-8)
DAY 2 Walking with the broken body of Christ
Ezekiel 37:1-14 ―Shall these dry bones live?‖
Psalm 22: 1-8 God‘s servant, mocked and insulted, cries out to God
Hebrews 13: 12-16 The call to go to Jesus ―outside the camp‖
Luke 22: 14-23 Jesus breaks the bread, giving the gift of himself
before his suffering
To walk humbly with God means hearing the call us to walk out of the places of
our own comfort, and accompany the other, especially the suffering other.
―Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.‖ These words from
Ezekiel give voice to the experience of many people across the globe today. In
India, it is the ―broken people‖ of the Dalit communities whose lives speak vividly
of this suffering – a suffering in which Christ, the crucified one, shares. With
injured people of every time and place, Jesus cries out to the Father: ―My God, my
God, why have you forsaken me?‖
Christians are called into this way of the cross. The Epistle to the Hebrews makes
clear not only the saving reality of Jesus‘ suffering, in the place of the margins, but
also the need for his disciples to go ―outside the camp‖ to join him there. When we
meet those who have been excluded, like the Dalits, and we recognise the crucified
one in their sufferings, the direction we should be going is clear: to be with Christ,
means to be in solidarity with those on the margins whose wounds he shares.
The body of Christ, broken on the cross, is ―broken for you‖. The story of Christ‘s
suffering and death is prefaced by the story of the last supper: it is then celebrated
as victory over death in every eucharist. In this Christian celebration, Christ‘s
broken body is his risen and glorious body; his body is broken so that we can share
his life, and, in him, be one body.
As Christians on the way to unity we can often see the eucharist as a place where
the scandal of our disunity is painfully real, knowing that, as yet, we cannot fully
share this sacrament together as we should. This situation calls us to renewed
efforts towards deeper communion with one another.
Today‘s readings might open up another line of reflection. Walking with Christ‘s
broken body opens up a way to be eucharistic together: to share our bread with the
hungry, to break down the barriers of poverty and inequality – these, too, are
―eucharistic acts‖, in which all Christians are called to work together. Pope
Benedict XVI frames his reflections on eucharist for the church in just this way:
that it is a sacrament not only to be believed in and celebrated, but also to be lived
(Sacramentum caritatis). In keeping with the Orthodox understanding of ―the
liturgy after the liturgy‖, here it is recognised that there is ―nothing authentically
human‖ that does not find its pattern and life in the eucharist. (SC 71)
God of compassion, your Son died on the Cross so that by his broken body our
divisions might be destroyed. Yet we have crucified him again and again with our
disunity, and with systems and practices which obstruct your loving care and
undermine your justice towards those who have been excluded from the gifts of
your creation. Send us your Spirit to breathe life and healing into our brokenness
that we may witness together to the justice and love of Christ. Walk with us
towards that day when we can share in the one bread and the one cup at the
common table. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
In light of that prophetic tradition in which God desires justice, rather than
ritual without righteousness, we need to ask: how is the eucharist, the mystery
of Christ‘s brokenness and new life, celebrated in all the places where we
What might we do, as Christians together, better to witness to our unity in
Christ in places of brokenness and marginality?
Please note: This is the international version of the text of the Week of Prayer 2013. Kindly contact your local Bishops’ Conference or Synod of your Church to obtain an adaptation of this text for your local context.