United in Jesus Christ

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


There are many things in life that bring people together as one: anniversary celebrations; the death of someone great, like Mother Teresa or Pope John Paul II; the deposition of a dictator or corrupt leader (as in Edsa); or the victory of an idolized prizefighter, like Manny Pacquiao. In this savage form of sports, the phenomenon of Pacquiao’s fights so mesmerized the whole country during his celebrated bouts that almost all of his countrymen would forget their differences, and came together to watch and cheer for their idol. Total strangers would do ‘high fives’ and congratulate each other in his moments of triumph. The only other phenomenon that brought a million Filipinos together as one was the funeral of Ninoy Aquino, and this spelled the beginning of the end for the Marcos dictatorship. Here in Davao, the biggest assembly of people happened last Saturday, when more than 270,000 people from all walks of life (pardon the pun) trooped to the Ma-a Corporate Park to break the Guinness record of the most number of people assembled to sing their national anthem. Thousands of participants endured several kilometers of walking to join this mass rally.

Yesterday’s national and local elections once again demonstrated the great power of our unity and freedom as a democratic nation. But our unity as a Christian people is defined by something even greater than our political freedom to elect our leaders, 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. 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 in committing ourselves to serve Him in our chosen community by living 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 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 corner.

Lord God, we pray for the unity of our country under competent political leaders that You have allowed to be elected. More importantly, 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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