Reflection by Sr. Nancy Usselmann
Today's Gospel: John 17:20-26
Every time I read this passage I imagine Jesus shedding tears over our fractured Church and community of believers. We fight, judge, accuse, and condemn anyone who sees differently than we do, and assume we understand others' motivations. How many times have we said things without meaning them or they came out of our mouths in the wrong way? But the deed was done. If we act this way, then how can we really call ourselves followers of Christ? Jesus prays to the Father that, “They may be one, as we are one” (Jn. 17:22). We are not only to be united to Jesus but also to one another. It’s part and parcel of the entire faith package. We can’t just say we’re Catholic and gossip or complain about everyone.
It’s hard work being a Christ-follower. It requires a constant examination of conscience about how we are living the call. It means holding our tongues when we would rather lash out with colorful verbiage at someone who offended us. It means making an effort to listen to someone as they speak rather than immediately judge their intentions. It means holding back an angry response rather than calming ourselves and answering gently. It means not complaining about every other Christian and how they live without first pointing at the sin that resides in our own hearts.
How hard this is! It requires a daily dying to oneself. This is what it means to love. This is why Jesus says the greatest commandment is to love God and one’s neighbor (cf. Mt. 22:36-40). Charity alone unites us with our Trinitarian God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit in a communion of love. “That all may be one…” begins with me, right now, in this place where I find myself. Love alone.
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How can I be the presence of love in the world today?
Heavenly Father, how hard it is to live charity above all! Yet, for me to be one with You means I must not judge or condemn, but love constantly and everyone. Help me to bring about this great communion of love in my small area of the world.
Copyright 2020 Sr. Nancy Usselmann
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