Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wis., delivers his homily at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington in 2020. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wis., delivers his homily at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington in 2020. (CNS photo/Tyler Orsburn)
Archbishop Alexander Sample on Jan. 29 delivered an ardent appeal for unity in society, especially the church.

Jesus called for oneness in his last discourse with the apostles, and that message is urgently needed now, Archbishop Sample said during one of his Chapel Chats, livestreamed sessions from his home chapel.

Amid fierce division in the United States, the archbishop urged followers of Jesus to slow down.

“I think it’s time we really take a deep breath as the disciples of Jesus Christ and refocus ourselves on what is really the most important, and that is the salvation Jesus brought us,” he said.

A saddened archbishop said discord has crept into the church. Citing a letter on unity from his friend Bishop Donald Hying of Madison, Wisconsin, Archbishop Sample asked viewers to move from angry inwardness, wallowing in one’s own ideas, to turning outward in openness to others. Such openness, while holding firm to truth, ought not be judged as disloyalty, Archbishop Sample said.

The inability to listen to others, he explained, “has driven a wedge into the body of Christ.”

He asked Oregon Catholics — as well as those watching from other parts of the country — to step back, think and pray.

“We have to be honest with ourselves,” the archbishop said. “What is really motivating me in my life? What really drives me? Is it love of God within my whole heart, mind and soul? Is it truly love of neighbor as myself? Is it truly focused on the mission that Jesus came into the world for: to bring us salvation, to reconcile us to the Father, to destroy sin and death, and to open for us the way to eternal life?”

The people of the church must confront serious problems of the world without being of the world, the archbishop said. “Where is our heart? What are we living for?”

He foresees an Oregon church keeping its eyes on Jesus, operating with zeal and love in a culture hostile to its message. Again citing Bishop Hying, the archbishop urged viewers to stop watching so much news and instead read the Good News, and to help the poor instead of firing off angry emails.

Baptism, the archbishop said, binds us as brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Let us be agents of reconciliation,” he prayed in closing.