. . . that they may all be one

Have you ever participated in an event with people from all walks of life?   Maybe it was something united around a common cause, like the March for Life, or a food drive, or a race to raise money for cancer research.   While you were there, chances are no one asked you about your age, where you lived, your occupation, or even your religious affiliation.   What brought you together was the cause.

This kind of unity of purpose can help us understand one facet of the unity that Jesus prayed for in today’s Gospel (John 17:21),  but he wants us to know much more than unity of purpose.   He wants us to know unity of love and unity of vision as well.

It’s no secret that the Church is fractured and that Jesus’ prayer remains unfulfilled.   We know that Catholics, Protestants, and Orthodox are separated.   There are countless different denominations, and the Catholic Church continues to suffer from internal divisions.   Even on a smaller level, every parish seems to have its own difficulties.

And so Jesus continues to pray that his followers become one as they share in his Father’s perfect, selfless love.   He wants more than cooperation and tolerance.   He wants reconciliation and love.   When our divisions no longer define our relationships, we’ll begin to see each other as brothers and sisters.   We may not believe everything in exactly the same way, but we can rejoice that there is far more that unites us than divides us.

How can we promote Christian unity?   By praying. We can bless our brothers and sisters from other traditions.   We can ask the Holy Spirit to soften our hearts toward each other.   We can echo Jesus’ prayer that all barriers of hostility would be broken down and that God’s children would be one.

Just think of what your prayer for unity can accomplish.   Close your eyes and imagine the heavenly throne room.   Picture the angels and saints there worshipping Jesus.   Now picture everyone from all the churches in your neighborhood joining them.   See them all gathered together singing hymns of glory to the Lord.   Imagine the smiles on their faces as they greet each other—and as they greet you.   Isn’t this a unity worth praying for?

Word Among Us