That they may be one just as we are one.
Seventh Sunday of Easter B

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

This is the last Sunday of the Easter Season. Next Sunday, God willing, we will celebrate the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the group of the apostles, a day we know as Pentecost Sunday. During the Sundays of Easter, the Church has been recalling for us the first days of the Christian community. After witnessing the Ascension of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, into heaven, the Virgin Mary and the apostles met with the other disciples and during nine consecutive days they remained united in prayer.

We Catholics are the spiritual descendents of the first disciples that Christ chose, prepared and strengthened. With this in mind, we should meditate on the importance that prayer had for them and how much we need it now. Today especially, we should pray for the unity of the Christian community.

Unity is a gift of God that is closely linked to prayer. In the Gospel Reading, Saint John shows us the beautiful prayer of Our Lord during the Last Supper. He said, “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.” He was praying for the unity of His disciples. The hour had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father and He knew very well that His followers, after His Ascension into Heaven, would be alone, sad and worried until He sent them the Holy Spirit. Of course, He also knew that when they received the grace of the Holy Spirit they would receive the necessary strength to be able to remain faithful to Him and to His Church and we know very well that that is what happened.

The First Reading says that between the Ascension of the Lord into Heaven and Pentecost Sunday, Peter thought that they needed to look for a substitute for the vacancy that Judas Iscariot had left. As indisputable head of the early Church, Peter assembled all of the members of the community. United in prayer, they asked the Holy Spirit to enlighten them and let them see who should be elected. This shows us clearly the importance that prayer had for them. Two names were proposed. One of them was Joseph the Just and the other Matthias. They then prayed, “Lord, you penetrate the hearts of all, show us which one of the two should be chosen.”

The chosen one was Matthias and he was incorporated into the group of the apostles. This Reading shows us that in order for any decision, small or great, in our lives to be made; we should first ask God for help. He knows, much better than we do, what is good for us. Let us imitate the apostles and do as they did: leave things in God’s hands. If we don’t, we may soon be discouraged by the outcome of our decisions. Only God disposes of our future. Only God knows what he has prepared for us and what is good for us. Just as the apostles prayed for guidance on that occasion, we must also do the same before we try to make any important decision.

Christ wants all of the churches to be united in the one Church that He founded. As Christians, we also want to see Christian unity. For many, this can seem to be only a dream. We Christians should continue to strive for unity and not be disheartened. All of us have to try our hardest to accomplish this. We must not think that it is someone else’s duty to unite and bring together our separated sisters and brothers. Each one of us should try to do her or his part. In this task, as in all important tasks, our prayers are essential.