The commander of the Roman cohort was at a loss to understand why Paul’s preaching led to a near-riot. Ideas like resurrection and angels were unknown in Roman polytheism, yet here they generated such a violent dispute that he finally decided to take Paul into protective custody. What was wrong with these quarrelsome Jews?
The commander’s puzzlement reminds me of the reaction of a Jewish colleague who, after a trip to Jerusalem, told me how astonished he was at the battles among different Christians for access to the holy places. What is wrong with these quarrelsome Christians?
Christians have stopped killing each other over issues of faith, but we are still a long way from the prayer of Jesus “that . . . all may be one, as you Father are in me and I in you.” (John 17:21). Can we make that prayer our own?
—Barbara Lee is a spiritual director, an Ignatian Volunteer, and the author of God Isn’t Finished With Me Yet: Discovering the Spiritual Graces of Later Life published by Loyola Press