Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Gospel: John 17: 20-26


Let us be bold! The church, even more boldly both Church and church, is glorious for many reasons! As we hear in today’s gospel one aspect of the church is the unity found within it.  

Please I am not dismissing the truth that there is, at times, much internal disunity, hurt, injustice and disorder of every kind. We each carry these in many different ways, some more than others yet I pray we continue to unite together in union as we each carry the cross.

This is what Jesus is calling us to today. I recall when I first learnt the depth to the word unity looking around the world I am exposed to and witnessing it in many forms. I quickly learnt that unity is not conformity or uniformity. God does not want us all to be the same. After all we are not bricks made by human design but precious unique humans coming together to hold His presence as baptised children of God, together living as one church.

While unity has become a buzz word on social media, modern culture can take no credit for its creation or form. During the last supper for example, Jesus prayed for both you and I and all future believers for unity. What was his prayer you ask! We have just heard it in today’s Gospel. 

Jesus gave us the secret for the purpose of unity and the only way in which we can achieve it – Holy Spirit – Without the Holy Spirit’s power, unity is impossible!

There is a great depth of interconnection, not only to each other yet to all things. God’s goal for us, if you wish to phrase in this manner, is to be one, unified with Jesus and each other. This comes from that great sacrificial love, unconditional love, a love that binds us all together.

By uniting together in many forms through God’s love, we become mystically united with Christians throughout the world and our prayers and adoration of God become one song of praise, rising up in harmony. Let that love remove the frustration, bitterness, anger and fear. Let that love remove hate in our hearts towards another that looks, acts  or votes differently. Let that love propel us to look for ways to unify.

Let our hearts hear the words from today a gentle reminder that unity in the Kingdom of God is only achievable by the work of the Holy Spirit, first in our individual lives and then as a collective. Unity is a miracle of God, may we embrace this miracle offered to each of us as we live together as one church.

Sr Karen Englebretsen CP, Cross and Passion Sisters. blessed to be a spiritual care worker in the homeless sector in Melbourne.