Gospel Reflection: Sunday, May 24
After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. ‘I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.’
“The wings of charity are large and wide, and thus it flies above the Cherubim and Seraphim and all the choirs of angels. Through charity, the many are made into one-uniting those above with those below as well as those in the center. It likewise produces...a joy that is rooted in divine love.” Thomas a Kempis, A Little Garden of Roses
By the time John's Gospel is written, a generation of church life has passed. Just think of all the twists and turns that happen over a generation in a family, or a person’s life. Now remember that in its first era, the church was breaking every kind of cultural, ethnic, economic, linguistic, and geographical boundary.
A church I once attended was made up of people from a great diversity of ethnic-social backgrounds, and religious heritages. There was wide range of economic circumstances, from some of the wealthiest in the city to those living in neighborhood halfway houses and recovery centers. Approximately twenty different zip codes were represented. The sense of community and harmony was palpable. There was a common search to experience God’s love and discover a spiritual self. Another church I attended was very homogeneous. Those gathered looked alike and spoke with insider language. Most in attendance were of one ethnicity and looked to be well under 50. The sense of Christ’s community seemed to be muted, because the group already shared much, at least in cultural terms.
Many churches pray at the Lord’s Table, “Make us one with Christ, one with each other, and one in ministry…” Jesus Christ has never stopped praying for his church. Unity and harmony is the fruit of being loved by God in Jesus Christ. It is "large and wide" in its reach and community. And through this love all will know Jesus’ disciples. (John 13:3)