United in Jesus’ Name

John 17: 1-11a
Acts 20:17-27 / Psa 68

Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name that you have given me – that they may be one as we are one.
(John 17:11)

Satan celebrates our confusion,
But fails when we are gathered as one;
His main goal is to sow division,
Thank God we’re united with His Son.

Jesus looked up to heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began. I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Father, protect them by the power of your name – the name that you have given me – that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17: 1-11a)

Reflection

There are many things in life that bring people together as one. Anniversary celebrations, like the recent 30th National Anniversary of our Brotherhood which saw more than 2,000 members congregate in Davao City last month brought out our spirit of oneness. The victory of an iconic prizefighter like Manny Pacquiao so mesmerizes the whole country during his celebrated bouts that almost all of his countrymen forget their differences, and come together to watch and cheer their champion. Total strangers do ‘high fives’ and congratulate each other in his moment of triumph. The recent successful automated elections proved to the world that even a highly diversified multi-cultural Philippines could cooperate in the peaceful election of a new president. Even the tragedy of a fallen leader can bring about the unity of a whole nation. The funeral of Ninoy Aquino was joined by more than a million people, and this spelled the beginning of the end for the Marcos dictatorship.

Indeed, in unity there is great power. Our unity as a people is defined by something greater than ourselves, which at times may even be worth dying for. This is what Jesus is talking about in today’s Gospel, as He prays to the Father for the unity of His disciples, on the eve of His impending death. But take note that our Lord specified only “those whom (God) gave to (Him) out of the world.” Jesus even said, “I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours” (Jn.17:9). What defines our unity as followers of Jesus? And how do we glorify Him? First, it is our acceptance of and obedience to His Word, the Gospel, and our conversion to a more meaningful relationship with Him. Then it is committing ourselves to serve Him in our chosen community by living His values and ideals. Finally, it is by leading others to Him that we glorify Him and be one with Him. These are the ways by which we have come together as one in the Renewal and in His Name.

Our Church still has a long way to go to achieve ecclesial unity with other Christian churches, but as long as they believe that Jesus came from God, and is Himself God, died for our sins and was resurrected, then the road to unification is not beyond our reach.

Lord God, we pray for the unity of all Christians under the leadership of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Bring us together through the power of Your Holy Spirit, on Whom we trust. Amen.

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