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Unity begins with me!

Posted By May 6, 2016 | 11:02 am | Commentary
Msgr. F. Stephen Pedone gives Communion to parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel - St. Ann Parish during the final Mass at Mount Carmel Church. Parishioners who attend Mass at Our Lady of Loreto Parish this Sunday will hear preaching on this Gospel that Father Conrad Pecevich comments on here.  Photo by Margaret M. Russell
Msgr. F. Stephen Pedone gives Communion to parishioners of Our Lady of Mount Carmel - St. Ann Parish during the final Mass at Mount Carmel Church. Parishioners who attend Mass at Our Lady of Loreto Parish this Sunday will hear preaching on this Gospel that Father Conrad Pecevich comments on here. Photo by Margaret M. Russell

Our unity at any given time bespeaks the very unity of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our unity as People of God mirrors the love that is found at the heart of the Holy Trinity. Our unity proclaims God’s unconditional love for all.
Christ’s “Prayer for Unity” is one of the most touching parts of the Gospel of John. Jesus acknowledged that, in order that the Kingdom of God might be continually manifest and credible upon the earth, the unity of his disciples was paramount. Called his “Priestly Prayer,” listen to the intensity of his cry: “Holy Father, may all be one as You are in me and I in you, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

 

By Father Conrad Pecevich

Reflections on John 17: 20-26

 “That they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.”
Our unity at any given time bespeaks the very unity of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our unity as People of God mirrors the love that is found at the heart of the Holy Trinity. Our unity proclaims God’s unconditional love for all.
Christ’s “Prayer for Unity” is one of the most touching parts of the Gospel of John. Jesus acknowledged that, in order that the Kingdom of God might be continually manifest and credible upon the earth, the unity of his disciples was paramount. Called his “Priestly Prayer,” listen to the intensity of his cry: “Holy Father, may all be one as You are in me and I in you, that the world may believe that you sent me.”
We live in such a divided world, nation against nation, person against person. It has never been more evident than today both in our global and political situations. Whatever happened to “sitting down at table” and discussing one’s similarities and differences in order to build bonds of commonality and tolerance? Likewise, has the prophecy of Isaiah to “turn your swords into plowshares” fallen on deaf ears as far as believers are concerned? It’s scary to admit that at present our county is so politically divided and to watch that “division” play itself out in the lives of peoples.
The Church is not exempt from this fracture as liberals and conservatives are silently at war with one another. Did we miss something in the Gospel message? How we have forgotten that it is not all about us, but rather God dwelling within us who binds us as one! On all levels, there is usually room for diversity and differences of opinion, but when it escalates into violent speech or actions, that’s when we’re in trouble. As Church, we possess the power to be one. The legacy of Christ has been to provide us with a blue-print of that unity. The Holy Spirit cries out within us for this unity. That is why it is essential not only to work to achieve it, but simultaneously to pray for it. Did not Jesus say that whatsoever we ask for in prayer (in faith), it shall be granted us?
Our bond of unity ultimately gives glory to God. It contributes greater credibility to the mission of Christ Jesus upon  the earth. Listen to Jesus’ own reasoning: “that the world may believe that you sent Me.” Our world is starved for the unity that the Holy Spirit creates. It’s a unity foreign to the world’s understanding.
“Father, they are your gift to me.” A tremendous love is at the center of this “gift,” the immense, unconditional love of God. Hence, to fully actualize this unity we, each one of us, must be convinced of our own giftedness. We are God’s gift to Christ, and Christ’s gift to one another. That interpersonal love is dynamic and renewing.
That unity to which we as Christians aspire begins with us. It’s a question of my being “comfortable in my own skin.” Do I see and love myself as God does? I came across an interesting quote from Winston Churchill: “Where there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you.” The ability to love others springs from my loving and embracing myself. Once we come to grips with and settle the “wars” within us, only then can we begin to love one another. Love enables us to regard our neighbor as our brother. The Sufi mystic, Rumi, wrote: “Realize that your inner sight is blind, and try to see a treasure in everyone.”  Spiritual unity begins with how I perceive my fellow human being.
Thomas Merton addressed the issue of this unity in the following manner: “The deepest level of communication is not communication, but communion … It is wordless … beyond speech … beyond concept.” Communion is about celebrating what we hold in common. In our case, it is the love of Christ and our faith in him.
I conclude with the words of a song by singer, Bob Marley: “One love, one heart. Let’s get together and feel alright.” In our communion, Christ’s love is made visible.