Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: Changed By the Servant Christ (Day 1)
January 18 customarily begins an "octave," or eight-day period, of prayer for Christian Unity. Originally conceived by an Anglican minister in the early twentieth century, the week-plus-a-day is designed to bring together all those who have been baptized into the Holy Trinity so that they may pray with one another for reunification under the headship of Jesus Christ.
The U.S. Catholic Bishops direct American Catholics to the Vatican's "Resources for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity," and it is there that I found the biblical passages upon which everyone who participates in the week -- Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, and Evangelicals -- will be reflecting each day.
Changed By the Servant Christ
"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem: Behold, your King will come to you, the Just One and the Savior: he is poor, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
"And I will destroy the chariot out of Ephraim, and the horse out of Jerusalem, and the bow for war shall be broken: and he shall speak peace to the Gentiles, and his power shall be from sea to sea, and from the rivers even to the end of the earth."
"For I say, by the grace that is given me, to all that are among you, not to be more wise than it behoves to be wise, but to be wise unto sobriety, and according as God has divided to every one the measure of faith.
"For as in one body we have many members, but all the members have not the same work: So we being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. And having different gifts, according to the grace that is given us, either prophecy, to be used according to the rule of faith; Or ministry, in ministering; or he that teaches, in doctrine; He that exhorts, in exhorting; he that gives, with simplicity; he that rules, with carefulness; he that shows mercy, with cheerfulness."
O Lord, hear my prayer.
—And let my cry come unto you.
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to St. Mark.
—Glory to you, O Lord.
"But Jesus, calling them, said to them: You know that they who seem to rule over the Gentiles, lord it over them: and their princes have power over them. But it is not so among you: but whosoever will be greater, shall be your minister. And whosoever will be first among you, shall be the servant of all. For the Son of man also is not come to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a redemption for many."
The Gospel of the Lord.
—Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.