Unity of God’s People

John 17: 20-26
Acts 22:30; 23:6-11 / Ps 16:1-2,5,7-11

I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
(John 17:20-21)

As we strive to be good as we should,
We have found love, peace and unity;
Lord, You fill our hearts with gratitude
For giving us our community.

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17: 20-26)

Reflection

Today’s reading from chapter 17 of John’s Gospel is a continuation of Jesus’ prayer to the Father. But this time, His supplication included those who would believe in Him when the apostles are sent out to give their witness to others. Those who would come to believe their testimony (that Jesus really came from heaven for the salvation of man) would be united as one flock under His Lordship. However, convincing Jews and Gentiles alike about the divinity of Jesus and His incarnation would not be an easy task, especially when Jesus was no longer around to prove it. This was why Jesus prayed for the Father’s help that “they also be in us”, meaning they be enlightened by the Holy Spirit to receive the Good News of salvation.

“May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” Love was the unifying factor, because without the power of God’s love, the efforts of the apostles would be futile. After the early Church had received the Holy Spirit, all the members became strongly united in love. “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to anyone who had need” (Acts 4:32-35).

Jesus ended His prayer, saying, “I have made known to them your name, and will continue to make it known, that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them” (Jn.17:26). As we strive to spread the Lord’s teachings to others (Christians and non-Christians alike), we also continue to deepen our understanding of our faith through study and interaction with members of our community, in the process strengthening our bonds of friendship, by drawing ourselves closer to the Lord. Our loving relationships with all the members of our “larger family” fill our hearts with joy and gratitude, as we exclaim, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!” (Psa 133:1)

Our life in the renewal is guided by the words of St. Paul, who said, “…live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Eph.4:1-4) This life of unity in our community is already a taste of heaven.

We praise and thank You, Father God, for giving us our community, the BCBP, where we enjoy the bonds of friendship, and share the values of our Lord Jesus Christ, encouraging each other in our faith journey, and supporting each other in times of need. In Your flock we have found the true meaning of love, unity and peace. Amen.

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