(Vatican Radio) Christians are called to follow the example of Jesus in encountering, listening and working together with others to spread the message of the Gospel in the modern world. That was Pope Francis’ message to members of all the different Christian Churches gathered in the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls on Sunday evening to mark the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
Listen to Philippa Hitchen's report
The theme for the 2015 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity was focused on the story of Jesus who asks the Samaritan woman for a drink of water from her well, engaging her in conversation despite the Samaritans being seen as heretics by the Jews. Addressing Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed and Evangelical Christians gathered with cardinals, bishops, priests, religious and lay Catholics in St Paul’s Basilica, Pope Francis reflected on the way Jesus encourages us all to encounter, accept and listen to one another.
The Pope said Jesus also speaks to the woman about true worship which breaks down walls of division. So many past controversies between Christians can be overcome, he said, when we put aside all polemical approaches and seek to grasp more fully the unity we already share. Christian unity, he said, will not be the fruit of subtle theoretical discussions in which each tries to convince the other of the soundness of their opinions.
Just as the Samaritan woman becomes a missionary after her encounter with Jesus, Pope Francis said all Christians today are called share the good news of the Gospel with the weary and thirsty men and women of today’s world. In the call to be evangelisers, he said, we discover a privileged setting for closer cooperation among all the Churches and ecclesial communities.