We are now on the 7th Week of Easter. We celebrated the Feast of the Ascension on Thursday last and next Sunday, we look forward to celebrating the Feast of Pentecost. Those 50 days of Easter are so special as we try to re-collect the full meaning of the fact that Jesus is Risen. In the Resurrection, he overcame sin and death and promises us eternal life with him. We are already partaking of that life of Christ in our Spiritual journey.
Today we have a most wonderful set of scripture readings. As you read or listen to the Gospel, just imagine you are there in the Upper Room at the Last Supper. Jesus is speaking, His Priestly Prayer to the Father. He is speaking about his Disciples. He is speaking ABOUT US – we who follow the footstep of the early disciples.
In this passage, Jesus is praying for unity among his followers. He is praying that we would have the same relationship with him, as he has with God the Father. When we look at the full chapter 17 of St John’s Gospel, we see that firstly, Jesus prayed for himself. In the second part, he prayed for his disciples. And in the third part (continued in today’s Gospel), he prayed for the community of the future who would believe, because of the preaching of the Apostles. That future community includes us. How consoling it is to know that Jesus prayed for us at the Last Supper. He still continues that prayer for us today as we gather to celebrate Mass.
In his heartfelt prayer, Jesus longs for unity amongst his followers. He asks the Father: “that they maybe one as we are one.” We need to remember that unity is not the same thing as uniformity. True unity must be able to accommodate differences. Unity is achieved when, each member is different and contributes different gifts, but all are united around the same goal by mutual love of God. We are called from different backgrounds to form ONE BODY in CHRIST. By rising above our many differences, we can be united in witnessing to God’s love. With Jesus at the centre, we can allow his light to shine in the world.
We know there are divisions amongst the Christian followers of Jesus. In history we messed things up by our human pride, prejudice, arrogance, self-centredness, etc. All the opposite of what Jesus prayed for, we continue to pray for that unity, so close to Jesus’ heart. The unity and diversity: we will get a glimpse of that next Sunday as the Our Father will be recited in different languages at each Mass.
Have a blessed week! Fr Joe