“Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.” On a number of occasions this year the aspect of our calling together with the fact that we have been called has been emphasised. This call to discipleship is an integral element in Mark’s version of the Gospel. Discipleship is a call to a calling – in other words we have been called to a very specific way of life. We have to walk in a manner worth of this vocation.

The scriptural text quoted above appears in THIS SUNDAY’S NEW TESTAMENT READING [EPHESIANS 4: 1 – 6]. However, Paul adds something which is fundamental to the manner of our living. He says we must be “eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” The apostle, by listing some essential virtues, provides the recipe for such maintenance. Nevertheless these ingredients must be mixed in together as a result of our EAGERNESS TO MAINTAIN TWO MATTERS – UNITY AND PEACE. If there is a lack of eagerness for these two things, the ingredients will always lack real substance.

In our families and parishes as well as the wider Church (not to mention our country) what is the degree and intensity of MY eagerness to maintain, and if necessary restore, unity and peace? The basic ‘scorecard’ against which I must measure this eagerness is to be found in TODAY’S PSALM [145 or 144]. There we read that we have to “call on him in truth.” How good am I in facing and evaluating my own truthfulness? Am I able to be truthful in my holistic evaluation of the situation? Do I know the truth? Do I want to know the truth? In what manner am I actually contributing to disunity and ‘warring factions’? Too often experience teaches me that some people ‘demand’ to know the truth but when this is presented the same people will not accept the facts. The goal posts are suddenly changed, and there emerges a private agenda. In addition we must all be wary of ‘opting out’ of family / community problems by pretending to be ‘above’ such situations but maintaining our eagerness for the matter to be resolved. It is impossible to be neutral. We have to be for something – especially when the truth is at stake. We cannot be neutral about unity and peace.

What we often overlook is the fundamental truth so clearly stated by Saint Paul in this reading. There he proclaims – “there is one body, and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.” If I am failing to be in my truthful evaluation of any difficult (and even) painful situation then I am negating the truth of one God and Father …. above all … through all … in all! Our calling is impoverished by any personal economy with the truth, and we end up being blind guiding the blind. {see Matthew 15:14}

Now, THIS SUNDAY’S OLD TESTAMENT AND GOSPEL READINGS [2 KINGS 4: 42 – 44 and JOHN 6: 1 – 15] present us with a clear indication of the coming gift of Eucharist. How many members of our parish communities would not feel outraged if the tabernacle in the parish church was to be vandalised and desecrated?

The Eucharist is the greatest sign of our UNITY and FAITH – faith on our common baptisms as well as our God and Father who is above, through and in all. At Eucharist we gather together in unity, peace and faith around the Lord’s table. How come, then, that it is possible for us not to be filled with an eagerness to walk in such a manner that we maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace?