Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Seventh Sunday of Easter

John 17. 20-26

"May they be completely one"

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The readings continue to invite our contemplation of the words spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper. He has given his final instructions to his disciples, and now he prays for them – and for all the people who, through their word, will come to believe in him. He prays that they will all be one with him and his Father, and one with each other in a communion of mind and heart, a communion of faith and love. Indeed, his prayer goes even deeper than that; he prays that the communion of his disciples should be a sharing in the very communion he has with his own Father: “may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you”.

 

Here we have the most basic yet wonderful understanding of the Church – a Communion, people, diverse in every way imaginable, held together in one by the presence and power of God through his indwelling Spirit. The unity for which Christ prayed is not some sort of uniformity imposed by authority, or held together by administrative structures. It is the glorious union of diverse people, sharing in the life of the Spirit that makes them so much one that they can be said truly to be the Body of Christ.

 

In these days when there is so much breakdown of community, it is important to remember that we are called to be Communion, to be a community of persons bound together in unity of love. Such communion should be experienced first and foremost with the local church, the parish community. It is right here, in our own midst, that Jesus continues his prayer that, gathered by his word and nourished by his body and blood, we may be truly one in him.