Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
John 17: 20-26
In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus prays to his Father to make us one with Him and with one another. I think this may be one of the most compelling and awesome lines in scripture. Just think about these words, "…that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me…" It is mind boggling to think about…becoming one with God. Jesus is not asking his Father to help us be like him, He is praying for us to be one with Him just as He is one with the Father!!!
When various saints, like St. Paul of the Cross, had a mystical experience, they knew this intimacy – this oneness with God. But that’s the saints – surely, this can’t apply to us ordinary folks! And yet, that’s exactly what this reading is telling us – Jesus is praying that each of us have that experience. And as if that weren’t enough then Jesus is praying for us to be one with each other in the same way. All of us! Even those who don’t agree with us. Imagine!
There are in our lives, if we are lucky, maybe one or two people with whom we feel so united that we can say we are truly one with them – perhaps a spouse, a child or a parent – but it is beyond our capability to even imagine achieving this oneness with everyone. And that’s the kicker – because when we reread this excerpt what we find is that this oneness is not ours to achieve. This isn’t something we can make happen. Jesus is praying to His Father to GIVE it to us. It is a gift! And the form the gift takes is God’s love…"the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them." We just have to accept the gift. As we approach Pentecost, let us spend time praying with Jesus that we will be filled with the love that is the Holy Spirit and that we will be open to union with God and the embracing of one another – to love as God loves us.
Mary Lou Butler ([email protected]) is a former staff member and is now a member of the Mater Dolorosa Passionist Retreat Center Board, Sierra Madre, California.