Today's Gospel: John 17:20-26
Why did Jesus pray so hard for unity for His followers?
In the beginning of Christianity, there was only one, universal Christian church. The word catholic means universal, so the Christian church was the Catholic Church. But human pride and arrogance quickly divided the Catholic Christian church into many factions.
Jesus did not want conflict, disputes and dissent among His people. He desired unity. He prayed to the Father for all of us when He prayed, “for those who will believe in me through their (the disciples’) word” so we could be One with each other.
This is what I think Jesus intends for us:
When someone else hurts, we hurt for them. We share in others’ sorrows and in their joys. As Christians, we are all responsible for each other. When there is suffering, we are obligated to provide whatever relief we can offer.
I think that is the unity and oneness that Jesus intended. To care for each other, to love. Not to dismiss another person’s pain because it is not our pain. Not to turn a blind eye as though it does not affect us. It does affect us if we are unified in love.
That is the way to answer Jesus’ prayer to the Father, “that the world may believe that you sent me.” Be Christian examples of love and unity, and people will believe and be drawn to Christian Oneness.
We are held accountable for our love or our lack of it. Jesus loves every single person on this earth. Every one. Any act of hatred, unconcern or disregard toward another is offensive to Him. No matter what belief system they hold dear. No matter if they are Muslim or agnostic. Even the jerk that cut us off in traffic or the bully who hurt our child. We are responsible as Christians to love, forgive and respect every soul.
What are some ways we show the world our Oneness? Can you think of someone unpleasant that you can show compassion and love? Someone with different views that you can show politeness and respect?
Good and gentle Jesus, You love every soul You have created. Help us to stay mindful of the unity you desire us to build with all people. Make us accepting and kind. Fill us with love so we will truly care for our neighbors and give of ourselves for anyone in need.
Copyright 2014 Deborah Shelby
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