“I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee.” (John 17:20-21)
In today’s first reading, we see Paul appearing before a tribunal for trial wherein he noticed there was a division among his accusers and he decided to take advantage of this division.
All he had to say was to introduce himself as a Pharisee and declare that he was standing trial simply because of the issue of the resurrection of the dead. Immediately there was an uproar in the assembly.
Paul could not be tried any longer simply because of the deep-seated division between the Pharisees and the Sadducees.
Disunity is not exclusive to Christianity alone. In all the religions of the world, there are different camps whereby people are divided on matters of doctrine, leadership, or certain moral standings.
Wherever it occurs, disunity prevents people from facing a common enemy. Think about this, if only the Pharisees were united in thought and doctrine with the Sadducees, perhaps they would have been able to put an end to the missionary enterprise of Paul but they couldn’t stop him.
In our Gospel passage, Jesus is praying for unity among his followers. Even in the prayer, Jesus highlights the scandal of disunity when he says “. . . MAY THEY ALL BE ONE . . . SO THAT THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT YOU HAVE SENT ME.”
In other words, the very fact of our disunity as Christians prevents the world from receiving the message of God. Let us stop emphasizing denomination at the expense of unity. We all are one.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, give me the courage to bear you witness by my life. Amen.
Bible Study: Acts 22:30,23:6-11, Ps. 16:1-2,5,7-11, John 17:20-26)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu