Sunday Breakfast With the Word. Seventh Sunday of Easter Year B
Acts 1:15-17,20-26, 1 John 4:11-16, John 17:11-19
In the family of Mr Philip, there are constant quarrels among His children. People know and acknowledge Mr Philip as a man of peace and unity. He does not want trouble.
The life of Mr Philip varies from that of His sons. He has seven sons. They lived peacefully together until some of them began to have their own families.
This unhealthy behaviour affected the health of the man and deteriorated heavily to the point of death. At His deathbed, the seven sons gathered and began to cry when they discovered that He may not make it to live again.
As they were crying, one of them was asking God, “how can we make our father live again?”The father overheard it and called all of them together and said “the only way I can live is this “if all of you can live in peace”.
He brought pieces of broom and gave each to them and asked them to break them. It did not take much effort for them to break them.
He then brought a bunch of brooms and asked them to break them each, but despite their effort, they could not.
The dying Mr Philip now said, “if you are divided, you can be easily broken but if you are united, no one can ever break you. If you want me to live, be one. Am a peaceful man, the only way I can live is for you to stay as one, then even if I die, my spirit will live in you”.
Therefore, to be one is when we unite ourselves together, without division. It is doing things with our mind without quarrel, division and family disintegration.
In today’s Liturgy, the Church reminds us of the essence of living in unity bound by God’s love. To live as one is also to live in the Spirit of Christ.
The Mystery of One.
In the list of the numbers that we have, only the number is one the number that cannot be divided. Some said you can divide it into half.
The half is still one, the more you divide, there is always one particle that will remain. So the number one indicates something that cannot be divided. Therefore to be one connotes unity, closeness, and togetherness.
All the readings of today focus on the need to be one. In the first reading, we see the unity, brotherly love and one heart that exist among the apostles and in the second reading, we see the way to be one. In the gospel, Jesus prays to the father asking that His disciples be one.
To be one is what God wants and not division, we see this in the way Jesus repeatedly asks that they be one.
Nothing can divide a family, organization or association or people who live in one heart, do things together and refuse any form of division and dissension among them.
The Prayer of Jesus.
Since last week, we can see that Jesus takes His time to prepare His disciples before He goes into agony. All this while, Jesus was advising them, teaching and strengthening them for the task ahead.
After taking His time to admonish them, He now prays for them. Here we can see that to be close to God, is not only about being prayerful. First of all, we have to be taught.
We have to know the word and what God wants from us. The prayer of Jesus is like the conclusion of His farewell address.
This prayer is known as the High priestly prayer for some reasons which are: 1. Jesus is preparing to offer himself as a sacrifice for the sins of the world. This was the last public prayer, He did for His disciples before going into agony.
2. The second one is that He intercedes for His disciples the same way, that the high priest always intercede for the people (Genesis 14:18-20, Hebrews 7:25).
After spending time with His disciples, Jesus now looked up to heaven and spent time with God the Father. He pours His heart for them and prays for them, that they may be one.
Thereby, we choose to be lost when we decide to live in hatred and division. To live in a division is not a trademark for the children of God.
Other Contents of Jesus Prayer.
Apart from praying that His disciples be one, there are other things that Jesus prayed for and they are:
1.Protection from the Evil One: In His prayers today, Jesus asks the father to protect His disciples from the evil one.
He says “I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world”. Jesus knows that in this world they must be hated because of the word they are going to preach.
To be on the side of Jesus is to be in enmity with the evil one. They can never take it easy with you. So when people fight or attack you, always know two things, (1)You are already in God’s protective hands.
(2).Those who are antichrists, anti-gospel, and against Christianity, and those who are not in the same level of understanding with you, will come against you or what you teach. Thereby, To be one, we do not allow the devil to come in and create division.
2. Consecration: Jesus also prays for their consecration. To consecrate means to declare something as holy and sanctified.
Jesus asks that they be consecrated to the truth and the only truth is through the word. Thereby, Jesus wants us to know His Word, the more we live by them the more our lives will begin to change.
Thereby, to be one, we have to live by Gods word.
The Way to Be One.
Many people may be asking “how can we achieve this? How can we always come together and live as one? When we go through the readings, we can find ways we can remain united and live in unity. They are:
1. To Love each other from the heart: When you look at the way Jesus took his time to talk to His followers and the way He prays for them, you can observe someone who truly wants the good of the other.
We can see in the prayer of Jesus, the voice of someone who truly loves, cares and thinks of the future and welfare of the other person.
For someone to spend his time, energy and talent for any person shows how truly they love or care for you.
The way to be one is to initiate this kind of love, concern and care among us and wherever we are. Love exists wherever there is unity.
2. To Love One another: In the same way that Jesus proves His love for us, we can as well prove our love to others. Jesus says in John 15:10, “if you keep my commandments, you will remain in my love”.
Through this prayer, Jesus shows the way He loves us and the second reading says “since God loves us so much, we shall also love another.
Therefore, when we love one another as Jesus does, He will live in us. In essence, God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Spirit will make a home in us.
Our lives will then reflect that of God. And since God binds in love, we shall always seek to bind ourselves in the love of another.
3.To Live like Brothers: In the first reading, we see how Peter addressed the congregation as His brothers. He talks to them in the same way.
They unite in their decisions to replace Judas Iscariot. No one disputed what Peter said or objected to field their candidates.
There was no form of manipulation of who to be among the apostles or not. They obeyed Peter and followed Him.
Therefore, If we truly want to live like brothers, we must do things with one heart and respect whoever is the head. When there is a problem, the family should come together and solve it peacefully as the disciples did.
4. Praying together: There is a saying that a family that prays together, stays together. We can see in the first reading, how the community prayed together with Peter as the head.
Many families today have lost this. There are times we need to come together and join our voices in prayer. After the prayers, if there is any problem to solve, the family can trash it anyway.
1.In this prayer of Jesus, we can see the love, eagerness and desire to see that His disciples live in peace and unity.
In essence, Jesus cherishes that we live in togetherness more than any other thing. To be a Christian is not only to pray and fast, or speaking in tongues and showing people how powerful and holy we are.
To be a Christian is to live in love, peace and unity. Any person that does this, is cherished by the Holy Trinity.
Today, we prefer to live otherwise. In every family today, you will find prayer warriors and self-acclaimed prophets but in the same family, you also discover that they have been living in a long-aged quarrel.
People will come out in the morning and praise God but go back in the night to perpetrate evil. Therefore, to be a Christian is to ensure that you are one with people who come to you or around you.
2. In today’s prayer, Jesus lets the Father know how much He has watched over those He handed over His care. He has taught them, nourished them and guided them to the truth.
None of them was lost except the one who chose to be lost. In essence, Jesus will always do this for us. He will always try to guide, protect, watch and nourish us daily. Even when we pass through challenges, He will continue to help us pass through them.
But the choice to remain close to Him or not close to Him is ours to make. He has prayed for us to be one. We can now decide whether to obey or not to obey.
It is time now for us to act. In essence, to be lost or not to be lost is our hands. But from the way Jesus prayed today for oneness, we can see how painful it would be whenever we decide to live otherwise.
3. We seek to be lost when we seek to do our desires than God’s will. As Jesus takes time today to pray for us, to show how He so much loves us, how many times have we prayed for one another?
How many times do we wish that something good would happen to the other person? We are Christians but yet we rejoice when we see the other person suffering. Is this our calling?
4. In the first reading, we can see how Barsabbas accepted the voting without complaints. Let us also think in that direction. He was not angry that he was not chosen. He did not fight, and His voice was not heard.
There was no unhealthy competition or rivalry recorded among them. Thereby to maintain peace and unity, let us avoid unhealthy competition and rivalry among us.
Even in the other disciples. The apostles chose only two, which I know other disciples followed Jesus from day one. The disciples are seventy-two in number, so what of other disciples? Why are they not chosen? Yet none of them argued against the decision.
This is team spirit, this is unity and this is brotherly understanding. Without these, it is always impossible for people to come together as one.
5. Finally, Jesus’ ultimate concern is that we live as one. He does not want any disintegration. In this prayer, we can see that inner longing to make sure we live in love.
This prayer also shows how Jesus will always pray for our good in the right hand of the Father. Like Jesus, let us see for the good of one another. Hatred and wickedness will never lead us anywhere.
Did you see How he addressed the Father? Jesus poured His heart out and said “Holy Father (Nna di nso). He says “Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us”.
Here we see true love, relationship and unity. Some translations say “Oh my Holy Father”. We can see the outpouring, the kind of love and admiration Jesus has for His Father. And this is the measure of the oneness that He needs from us. Therefore, Jesus wants us to live in this way. So, the ultimate question then is “can we?
As we answer this question, May God give us the grace to be one. May He continue to watch, nourish, and protect you. Always know, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Happy Sunday.