That they be one

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“That they be one” (Jn. 17:21)

These four words of Jesus summarize what my heart desires for our Church as we go into mission near and far.

The unity that Jesus desires in this passage is for his followers to share in the unity that Jesus enjoyed with his Father in the power of the Holy Spirit. It is the heart of discipleship because it is an invitation to share in a personal, eternal relationship with the Father, through Jesus, in the Holy Spirit. We are invited to share in the very life of God through the grace of adoption we receive in baptism and strengthened by sharing the Holy Eucharist, which is our Communion with the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. To be one with God is the aim, mission and destiny of every believer. Our mission as disciples is to invite everyone to accept this invitation and to accompany them to deepen it each day.

Sadly, what I see in the life of the Church is growing acrimony, division and combativeness. Such tendencies do not lead to the unity that Christ invites us to enjoy. For how can we be united to Christ if we are dividing His Mystical Body, which is His Church? How can we have a relationship with the Lord whom we cannot see if we discard, fight against, refuse to dialogue or disrespect the members of His Body whom we can see? So I believe that the time has come to work for greater unity in our Church through a recommitment of respect, an attitude of welcome, a stance of listening, a desire to accompany and a commitment to speak the truth with merciful love.

I invite you to make greater unity in our Church and throughout society the hallmark of our mission in the months ahead. Since it is our Lord’s desire, what else do we need to act?

The previous reflection originally appeared on Bishop Frank Caggiano’s Facebook page. Follow the Bishop for daily reflections and weekly homilies.