One in Christ Jesus

John 17: 1-11
Acts 20: 17-27 / Ps 68: 10-11, 20-21

…that they may be one as we are one.
(John 17: 11)

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

Jesus looked toward 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 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 you gave me – that they may be one as we are one.” (John 17: 1-11)

Reflection

There are many things in life that bring people together as one. Anniversary celebrations; the death of someone great, like Ninoy Aquino, Mother Teresa or Pope John Paul II; or the deposition of a dictator or corrupt leader (Edsa); or the victory of an idolized prizefighter, like Manny Pacquiao. The passing of our mother was a very memorable event for us for the hundreds of friends and relatives who came to condole with us. During the one week of her wake in our ancestral home, people from all walks of life came, shared our loss and prayed with us as one, turning our sadness into joy and even merriment. In the field of sports, the phenomenon of Manny Pacquiao mesmerizes the whole country during his celebrated bouts so that almost all of his countrymen forget their differences, and come together to watch and cheer for their idol. Total strangers do ‘high fives’ and congratulate each other in his moment of triumph. 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 our Brotherhood 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 just around the bend.

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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