Scripture: 1st Reading: Acts22,30;23,6-11; Resp. Psalm: Ps16,1-2,5,7-11; Gosp. Accl.: Jn17,21; Gospel: Jn17,20-26
In all circumstances of life, in every situation we may find ourselves, in the family, society, religion, faith, church, among the best of friends, the enemy capitalizes on and exploits what divides us to separate us. The devil uses this to maximum advantage to such an extent that by the time eyes are finally opened, the terrible deeds would have been accomplished.
This happens when believers do not see the signs of the times. This happens when believers lose the power of discernment. It happens when those who should live in the light ignore the source of light and end up in darkness. This happens when believers are far from the Spirit of the living God.
Paul used the division between the Pharisees and the Saduccees on the point of doctrine to great personal advantage in today's first reading. He played on their differences in terms of faith in the resurrection. The result was dissension, pandemonium and chaos to such an extent that the tribune became afraid that Paul might be torn to pieces.
Paul used this weapon against the highest council of the Jews because his work had not finished. He was not to die in Jerusalem. He still had a "business" to accomplish in Rome. He still must bear witness in that great city and make the Master known there. That work had not yet been done. He was not to die until he had finished his assignments. Paul used the power of discernment to great advantage.
Paul was able to do this because he was one with the Spirit of Jesus. He was able to achieve so much for the gospel because he was one with the other disciples. The unity of hearts and minds among the disciples was the principal and central point in our Lord's prayer in today's gospel passage. The disciples would be one on the pattern of the unity and oneness that exists between the Father and the Son.
The unity of the disciples would also point to another important reality: it would become a revealer of the mission the Father gave His Son. In other words, when those who believe are one, the unbelievers would come to understand and accept that it was their Father who sent His Son to the world to change it. It would also reveal that the Father loved the disciples just the same way He loved His Son.
Our Lord also prayed that those the Father had given Him would be where He was, to behold His glory, the one the Father had given Him before the foundation of the world. This glory will not be seen by a world that refuses to believe in the Son sent by the Father. It will only be seen by those to whom the name of the Father had been made known that the love with which the Father had loved His Son may be in them, and the Son may also be in them.
We ask the Lord today for the power of discernment that comes from the Holy Spirit, the ability to make a right choice when two possibilities are presented to us. We pray for the knowledge to make the right choices, so that we do not make mistakes that would cost us our salvation.
Let us pray: "May your Spirit, O Lord, we pray, imbue us powerfully with spiritual gifts, that he may give us a mind pleasing to you, and graciously conform us to your will." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always.