On Sunday evening, Pope Francis gathered with the faithful of the diocese of Rome and with the representatives of the different Churches and Ecclesial Communities, in the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to mark the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
The theme of the week this year is: “Give me a drink” (Jn 4:10). It is taken from St. John’s account of Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well.
Addressing Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed and Evangelical leaders together with cardinals, priests, religious and Catholic laity, Pope Francis pointed to Jesus’ encounter with the woman of Samaria as the model for dialogue among Christians.
“Jesus is patient, respectful of the person before him, and gradually reveals himself to her. His example encourages us to seek a serene encounter with others. To understand one another, and to grow in charity and truth, we need to pause, to accept and listen to one another. In this way, we already begin to experience unity.”
The Pope also asked the assembled leaders to remember that: “the mystery of love is the deepest ground of the unity which binds all Christians and is much greater than their historical divisions.”
Having all received the life-giving gift of the Holy Spirit in Baptism, Pope Francis therefore invited them to be united in their missionary efforts to bring Christ to a world that is thirsting for God.
“Today there are so many men and women around us who are weary and thirsting, and who ask us Christians to give them something to drink. It is a request which we cannot evade.”
“All of us,” he said, “are at the service of the one Gospel.”
Click here to read the full text of the Pope’s homily at Vespers.