Saturday, March 22, 2008

Gospel Unity

In the "high priestly prayer" of Jesus in the Gospel of John (Chp. 17:11), Jesus prays to the Father that his disciples "may be one just as we are."

In these words we learn of the ideal--that all followers of Jesus should be one, just as Jesus and the Father are One. If you spend some time reflecting on this, you begin to see the beauty and simplicity of this statement.

Jesus and the Father, as is evident throughout this beautiful prayer, are One. Jesus comes from the Father. The Father is glorified in Him. Jesus wants this kind of union with us and the Father, too.

Faced with this statement, we have to ask ourselves, "How can I work to bring people together?" We should be careful that our actions and words do not serve to separate us. Even in the little, everyday ways that our pride causes us to condemn each other . . .

Maybe we think our way is always right and others are incompetent.
Maybe we are a little arrogant in how we raise our children, or the work we do, or how we use our talents--forgetting that they come from God.
Maybe we think we are holier because we do such and such, or are more religious because of our pious practices.

Humility is the answer to the problem of division. If I am humble, I will respect your beliefs. I will respect the way you do things. We will find unity in this freedom.

These are not high and lofty ideals. They are very simple and practical. The Gospels tell us over and over. Do not take the best seat at the table. Serve others. Don't put yourself above others.

When we do this, we will come together with our brothers and sisters and discover the "oneness" Jesus is calling us to. That is more important than those things we let divide us.

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