“And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one […] that the world may know that you sent me.”

As we near the end of the Easter season, we also close out Jesus’ high priestly prayer (Jn 17:20-26) and the long sequence we have been reading from John (the account of Jesus’ arrest immediately follows).  As seen above, Jesus’ prayer now focuses on unity for all who will come to believe in Him, which will help to prove that He came from the Father.  Jesus promises to be with His followers and closes with the consoling hope “that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them” (v.26).  The lack of unity among Christians is a great scandal.  Tens of thousands of denominations with sometimes vastly different beliefs on even very core issues is not an assuring sign to an unbelieving and skeptical world that Jesus’ work continues faithfully today.  And, per the last verse, all too often the personal conduct of Christians of all stripes does not lend itself to edification of non-believers.  While it is not improper to bemoan the fact of a lack of outward unity, we see here that an inward unity must be the starting point of any witness, ecumenism, or dialogue.  This unity begins and ends with Christ.  Only in striving to be at peace and at one with the Truth — and then living our lives according to It — will we then be in a position to let that light shine through us so “that the world may know that” Jesus is from the Father.

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