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Easter 6th S,May 29,11

Easter 6thS,May 29,11

Easter 6th S,.May 29,11

(Jn.17:21-26)

Cardinal Bernardin in an essay on “How can I find God” speaks about his habits of prayer. He has often, he says, given talks on prayer but never spent much time in personal prayer. When he shared this dilemma with some of his priest-friends, they advised him to act on his desire and set apart an hour in the morning for prayer. With their encouragement and support, he resolved to devote an hour each day to prayer. He says: “During the early days of this new habit of prayer, I began to realize how often I had looked elsewhere for God rather than right in the midst of each day’s journey.” He adds further that he has constantly “tried to enter into closer communion with God through prayer. This search for union, he says, has been “an exciting, life-giving, sustaining experience.”

In today’s Gospel, which is the third part of the Priestly Prayer of Jesus, we hear the deep yearning of Jesus for the bond of unity that should exist among all those who believe in Him. Jesus exhorts his disciples to remain united with one another as well as with Him and with His Father in Heaven. In this prayer, Jesus brings out all the various implications of this bond of unity. This unity is the outward expression of God’s love for Jesus and of the mission entrusted to Him.

This bond of unity does not just remain on the plane of believers but goes beyond the terrestrial dimension to the very gates of heaven. It reaches through Jesus to the Heavenly Father. The Father lives in the Son and the Son lives among those who believe in Him. The disciples are united with Jesus and the Heavenly Father in a great and abiding intimacy, similar to the unity between the Father and the Son.

The unity between the Father and the Son is brought about by the perfect love between them. It is the love between them that causes, promotes and sustains the unity between them. It means that love should be causal factor of the unity that should exist among the believers. Love which would involve forgiveness and care for each other should become the basis of unity.

These words of Jesus in his Prayer to the Heavenly Father are undoubtedly the strongest call to unity uttered by Jesus. Our faith in Jesus is not just a vertical phenomenon. It has a horizontal dimension too. It involves unity with our brothers in faith. There is no way the believers in Jesus can remain divided.

Often what we find in our lives is the glaring absence of unity. Even in the heart of families which should be a model of love and unity, we find rancor and vengeance. Selfishness, arrogance, and pride gnaw at the vitals of a healthy family life. More than a million children live every year in broken families. People who share the same faith and have committed themselves to irrevocable unity are unfaithful to each other. Divorces become so rampant and the number of divorces is outpacing the number of marriages taking place every year.

It is in this background of broken families and broken promises that we should listen carefully to the words of Jesus asking us to commit ourselves to unity. Real unity can be experienced only where there is love. There should be a willingness to reach out to the other person, whoever he may be. He can be a member of the family or a stranger. It has been said that it is possible for man to reach the moon but has become difficult to reach out to the neighbor. We have to cross the street of our selfishness and offer our neigbor love and forgiveness. “The neighbor is the one who steps on my toes in the subway, or who makes a left turn from the outside lane in Sunday traffic, or who sneaks ahead of me on the bus for a seat…the neighbor is not some one we like.: “(Sheen).We have to start loving and by loving we shorten the distance among ourselves. Shortening the distance makes us come together and to experience the bond of unity that Jesus has asked us to have in today’s Gospel.

Christian families have to learn once the more the lesson of love, the lesson of the forgiving love and remain united because of their faith in Jesus. Christians have to come together, knowing that this togetherness coming from the bond of unity is what Jesus wants from each one of us. “Doing kind acts to people make us find all people lovable.”(Sheen)

Today is the day for us to avoid everything that creates divisions among us and think of the factors that promote unity in faith and love.

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