A Reflection for the 7th Sunday of Easter (Year C).
Acts 7:55-60 – Rev.22:12-14,16-17,20 – John 17:20-26.
Dear brothers and sisters, as we look towards the feast of Pentecost, which celebrates the fulfilment of Christ’s promise and the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Church invites us today to pray for Unity among believers in Christ.
In Jesus’ priestly prayer for his disciples, in today’s gospel, He concluded it by praying for Unity among them. His prayer extends to us too, who listen to his words and believe in Him (the Church) for our Unity. He prayed that the Spirit of Love would bind us together until the end of time. He understood the challenges that would come the disciples’ way. Their Unity was essential for their survival in those difficult times. This type of Unity is possible through the working of the Holy Spirit within the Church when we allow Him to move us.
In the 1st reading, Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, was ready to face anything coming his way with courage, confidence, and prayer. The HolySpirit helped him see that which is hidden from ordinary eyes. He was able to see the vision of heaven and the Son of Man at God’s right hand.
Similarly, the Holy Spirit helps us see beyond the usual way people see things; to see from the perspective of God, whose essence is in the Unity of the three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Anyone with the HolySpirit in them is motivated to live like Christ, speak like Christ and pray like Christ. The Spirit helps us take bold steps and actions toward the Unity for which Christ prayed.
The Holy Spirit helps us to invoke the presence of Christ, the Son of Man, who is the bond that unites us. The Spirit prays with us because we are weak and unable to pray appropriately on our own (Romans8:26). The word of God says today that “the Holy Spirit and the Bride, says ‘come’” (Rev.22:17). It means then that the Spirit prays with the Church, the Bride of Christ (Eph.5:24). The Spirit helps us to accomplish our Unity in Christ. The Holy Spirit praying with the Church helps us to make Christ present. One of such times is during the transubstantiation of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ.
Any unity within the Christian community that is not centred around Christ can quickly fail and will not stand the test of time. Christian Unity should be Christocentric. In Jesus’ prayer, he emphasized that those who come to know him through the teachings of the disciples may be one within the Unity of Him with the Father (Vs. 21)
One of the greatest tragedies, which has occurred in the Church down the centuries, has been the divisions in her, leading to rival Christian Churches’ formation. The divisions are fractures to the Unity precious to Christ, who prayed to his Father “that they may all be one as you Father are in me and I in you” (Jn17:21). We should not lose our focus on Christ, who unites us, and focus on things that divide us. All believers in Christ are called to pray together again through the Spirit that we may be united more profoundly in Jesus Christ, our head and centre. Each of us is responsible for promoting Unity in a world largely in different to the Church. The witness we bear through our Unity is what can help people know of Christ’s presence in our Church community. We all have this duty to work for Unity. Unity is our power in our divided world.
In conclusion, we need to keep our gaze on Jesus, our centre, to regain a united Christian community strong enough to weather the storm and challenges of our time. So let us pray and ask the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our minds to see and understand Christ, who speaks to us and prays that we be united. Amen. God bless you.