May They Be One

In the Catholic hymn book, number 372, there’s a beautiful song about love. You will probably remember this line: “Unity and Love are Jesus’ will for His people in every land.” Today’s gospel puts more emphasis on the songwriter’s words as Jesus, in His priestly prayer before His suffering, death and resurrection, prays for the UNITY of all His followers and those who will come to believe in Him.

We all know about the reasons why we must love because it is often spoken of. But there is also a lot of good things that unity does to the body of Christ, and that is why it becomes a focal prayer topic for Jesus during His last days on earth. Unity of the Christian community will give credibility to the gospel message: Jesus is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, even though they played different roles at different times. People should be able to see this kind of unity among us in order to draw them to us.

Unity is also a necessity for evangelization and progress in the mission entrusted to the apostles (and by extension, us) In Genesis 11:6, God Himself acknowledged that when humanity is one in purpose, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them. This means unity makes the impossible possible. Because of the unity that the early church enjoyed, we are told that every day, the Lord added to their number. With unity comes strength, and we can rely on each other’s strength to make more progress than when we are alone.

In the first reading, out of human wit and Divine providence, St. Paul brought division among the chief priests and the council who wanted to condemn him. With a tiny spark of differing ideologies, they ended up fighting or arguing among themselves, and thus could not achieve the reason why the assembly was called. This explains why Jesus prayed for all those who will believe in Him, because He knew that with a divided front, our gospel message will go nowhere and we will convince no one.

Just like the beauty of the world proclaims a Triune God who created it, so does unity in the church showcase beauty; this beauty becomes missionary because it attracts people to it, making evangelization easier. There were a number of things (food, circumcision, groups/factions, etc.) that threatened the unity of the church; however, the leadership were able to resolve it. It is said that where there is unity, there the Spirit of God dwells, and where the Spirit of God dwells, there is liberty and progress.
(Acts 22:30;23:6-11; Ps. 16; Jn. 17:20-26)

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