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1 April

Year 9 students from All Saints school in Sheffield take part in a walk for CAFOD.

Jesus was to die for the nation – and not the nation only, but to gather together in unity all the scattered children of God.

John 11:52

God’s desire for unity among us is clear in today’s readings. In the passage from Ezekiel and the psalm from Jeremiah, we hear his promise to gather together the exiled people of Israel. Meanwhile John, interpreting the high priest Caiaphas’ comments, sees Jesus as gathering “in unity all the scattered children of God”.

There are endless ways that our human family is divided today – “us” and “them” in so many different guises. It is to this that Pope Francis’ culture of encounter speaks so powerfully. Inviting us to engage deeply with others in dialogue, Pope Francis says:

“It is neither a culture of confrontation nor a culture of conflict which builds harmony within and between peoples, but rather a culture of encounter and a culture of dialogue; this is the only way to peace.”

Seeking to come together as one human family does not mean embracing a bland uniformity. Rather, in recognising our shared dignity as children of God, we are enriched by our difference and able to stand together against the evils of poverty, discrimination and violence.

As we approach Holy Week, let’s look around at our families, our parishes, our communities and the wider world. Where is there division? Am I contributing? How might I help to heal this? What are the ways I can truly encounter others in dialogue and friendship?

Lent prayer

God of all,
send us your spirit of encounter.
Enable us to recognise your presence in each person
and make manifest your vision of unity
in our world today.


Find out more about how people have been coming together to make a difference this Lent by following CAFOD on facebook, twitter, instagram or youtube.