Jesus prayed that “they may be one just as we are one.” He was speaking to the Father on behalf of his disciples. Clearly Jesus would not desire that the community of his disciples would split into factions. No one desires that of the community they founded and nourished. Parents typically don’t desire that for their own families and children. But it isn’t always the perspective of the members of the community or the siblings within the same family. Sometimes their higher priority is to assert their dominance and put everyone else down. Have we perhaps lost our connection to Jesus himself that we would have little regard for his command that we love one another? Hard to believe we would do that and still claim to be real Christians. But the evidence is right before us in living color.
Paul warned the presbyters of Ephesus as he was preparing to travel to Jerusalem that “savage wolves will come among you, and they will not spare the flock.” Setting up defenses against outside forces is often easier since we would more easily recognize the difference between those who are ours and those who are not. But he warns them further, “And from our own group, men will come forward perverting the truth to draw the disciples away after them.” Now there’s the irony of it all. Some within the community would be the cause of division and strife. In recent years we have suffered the scourge of clergy sexual abuse of minors, definitely a horror from within our own. But in light of the gospel passage today, we might consider well-meaning Christians and Catholics who sow division within the community of believers.
Since just recently at the Second Vatican Council the bishops of the church recognized that we do not need the Holy Spirit’s permission to do the work that God does. So Christian communities that are not united with us institutionally or structurally are still part of the Lord’s flock that acknowledge Jesus as their Chief Shepherd. As well they strive to live God’s Word in charity to their neighbor. They are not the enemy. The enemy are those who incite hate and sow division among believers. It is they we must watch for and arm ourselves against. Jesus prayed for our unity in his name. It’s been tough. We’re not there yet. But we need to rethink what it means to be one just as Jesus and the Father are one.
This mass was offered for the repose of +Albert Weiner.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020