Becoming plural

Our Christian mission

In his Confessions, when parting from a dear friend, St. Augustine cites the poet Horace, who when saying goodbye to Virgil exclaimed, “I lose half of my soul.” The personal encounter with Jesus leads us to experience the same feelings in his heart, all the joy and all the sadness.

This loving unity with Christ causes us to suffer with each person who lives outside that unity. For the world to believe in God, people need to see the face of Jesus as a whole, not dismembered. Each of us is needed to complete the beautiful face of God, the Father of Jesus and our Father, from whom we bear the same blood.

Pope Francis has repeatedly expressed that the gravest sin in our world is indifference. Christian love prevents us from being indifferent and helps us see every human being as a brother or sister. Our souls can only be complete when we make room for all those whom Jesus has loved from the creation of the world. Our souls are complete when we become plural,
when we become part of an “us,” defeating every form of selfishness.

Any form of division among humans isolates us, segregates us and distorts our face to the point that we can no longer recognize each other as members of the same family, sharing the same blood.

From the pierced heart of the crucified Jesus flows abundant blood that washes away our blindness, helping us see new forms of justice, forgiveness, fraternity, joy, purity and endless gratitude. That is our mission as Christians.

Like Jesus, we cannot expect the world to accept without resistance that we are one family when perhaps we ourselves have previously denied it with our actions or indifference. Through his passion, death and resurrection, Jesus defeats Satan, the diabolic spirit that has brought division to creation, and restores the unity in which the divine presence is embodied: “That they may all be one.”

Our sufferings as Christians are part of the process of restoring unity. St. Paul said in his Letter to the Colossians, “In my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the church” (Colossians 1:24).

As long as one single man or woman in the world continues living in loneliness, Jesus continues to suffer mystically; and as long as one of us Christians continues to work for unity through our service to the world, Jesus will continue saving. We will thus continue to complete our Christian soul, so that all may see the face of God.

Mary, Joseph and all the great women and men we call saints became an “us,” became plural, so that Jesus could continue to offer his new blood and complete with us the soul of the

Read the Spanish version of this column.

Northwest Catholic - March 2020

Bishop Eusebio Elizondo

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., is auxiliary bishop of Seattle and vicar for Hispanic ministry.

Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S., es obispo auxiliar de Seattle y vicario para el ministerio hispano.