Sunday of the First Ecumenical Council: The Gospel of Unity

How do we build up this kingdom? Again, today’s Gospel tells us that it comes about only by building up unity in God. Our goal is to find God in the gift of life given to us. We find him only by being one with him, as the Father and the Son are one, as Jesus clearly tells us, “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are” (John 17:11). Moreover, the Gospel of St. Matthew tells us that we become one when we see the image of God in every person that he has created. When Christ does come again in glory, he will judge us exactly on this point, “‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40). We become one with God only by becoming one with each other, and we can become one with each other only if we love the poor, if we feed the hungry, if we give drink to the thirsty, if we give a home to the homeless, if we visit those who are sick or in prison, only if we see the face of Christ in the face of one another.

Being human, this is not always easy to do, and St. Paul, in today’s Epistle, warns us about those who bring divisions into the human community, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock. And from your own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them” (Acts 20:29-30). Our Lord, however, has left us the guidance of the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. (John 16:13)” How do we know the face of Christ? The Church guides us to the truth, as we see in today’s feast of the Council of Nicea I, which clearly taught us who Christ is – the Son of God, of one essence with the Father, and whose image therefore can deify each and every human being. This is the glory of God, this is unity with God, this is unity with one another, this is peace and mercy, this is life, this is what the feast today is about, so that in everything we might say, “Glory to Jesus Christ!”