"One of the most serious sins that disfigures the face of the Church is its visible lack of unity, especially the historical divisions that have separated Christians and which have not yet been completely resolved." This is what Benedict XVI said in his reflection before the Angelus prayer with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square. The Pope's words are due to the fact that for more than 100 years, 18 to 25 January, the Christian world celebrates the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, "a moment - explained the pope - always welcome by believers and communities, which awakens in all the desire and spiritual commitment to full communion".
Experts often say that the ecumenical momentum in Churches - especially non-Catholic ones- is fading. But Benedict XVI fondly remembers "the vigil I celebrated about a month ago, in this square, with thousands of young people from across Europe and the ecumenical community of Taizé: a moment of grace in which we experienced the beauty of being one in Christ. " The young people of Taizé in fact wanted to celebrate their European meeting at the end of 2012in Rome.
The pope encouraged "everyone to pray together so that we can achieve," What the Lord requires of us "(cf. I 6.6 to 8), as this year's the theme for the week implies, a theme chosen by some Christian communities in India , inviting all to walk with determination towards the visible unity of all Christians and to overcome, as brothers in Christ, any kind of unjust discrimination. "
The Pope then recalled that, as usual, January 25, at the end of the week, he will preside at Vespers in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls, with the presence of representatives of other Churches and ecclesial communities.
Previously, Benedict XVI commented on the Gospel of the Mass today (II Sunday, year C), which shows the miracle of the wedding at Cana (John 2: 1-12), where Jesus performed the miracle of changing water into wine. With this sign, "Jesus reveals himself as the Bridegroom, the Messiah, who came to establish the new and eternal covenant for his people, in the words of the prophets:" As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you "( Is 62:5). And the wine is a symbol of this joy of love, but it also alludes to the blood that Jesus will pay in the end, to seal his covenant of marriage with humanity "
"The Church, said the pope - is the bride of Christ, who makes it holy and beautiful with His grace. However this bride, made up of human beings, is always in need of purification."
And before the Marian prayer, the Pope added: "Dear friends, as well as praying for Christian unity I would once again ask you to pray for peace because, unfortunately, so that in the different conflicts in act the massacres of unarmed civilians ceases, that there is an end to all violence, and that the courage is found for dialogue and negotiation. For both these intentions, we invoke the intercession of Mary Most Holy, Mediatrix of Grace. "