May 27 reflection by Deacon Len

Wednesday, 7th week of Easter 05/27/20

“Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.”

As soon as I read this line to today’s Gospel, I was reminded of the words Fr. Jeremiah spoke in a couple of his homilies.  To paraphrase he said, “The goal/work of the devil is to divide us, because divided we are weaker.”  Jesus also tells us, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste, and no town or house divided against itself will stand” (Mt. 12:25).   

So today, Jesus’ plea to the Father is that we may be one, just as the Father and the Son are one.  Society, on the other hand, wants to divide us.  If you are member of this party, then anything the other party says is false, (fake news) and incorrect.  We MUST remain divided!  We CANNOT condone or agree with ANYTHING the opposition says or does.  Hmm.  Sounds like the work of the devil.

Jesus speaks these words to His Apostles as preparation for His leaving.  He wants to remind them to be ONE in Him, just as He and the Father are One.

Can we ever be one in Christ if we each think “everyone should see things MY way”?  Sometimes we can be so blinded by our own beliefs and convictions that we fail to see the truth or any validity in what someone else says who is not in our “party”.  Are we called to be that quick to judge or dismiss each other?  Should we not, “remove the plank from our own eyes in order to see more clearly…”(Mt. 7:5)?  

Today’s public discourse is more about discounting the opposition than it is about seeking the truth.  The mantra seems to be, “if I can show that any part of their argument is false, then that means 100% of my argument must be correct”.  The focus is on tearing down the opposition, not on seeking truth or unity.

I have many friends and family members on both sides of the political spectrum.  I can say that this form of trying to divide is what is common to both sides.  Ironic!  Both sides are so blinded by their focus on the spec in the other’s eye, that they fail to see the plank in their own.

Friends, it must not be so with us.  We must not “belong to the world”, but rather be “consecrated in truth”.  We should not seek to divide, but rather to unite.  I am not advocating for anyone to change their political affiliation, only to seek what is common and to have empathy for each other.  Empathy means “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.”  

“I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the Evil One.  They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.  Consecrate them in the truth.  Your word is truth.  As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world.  And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

We are sent.  We are sent not to be divided by the evil one because we do not belong to the world.  We are sent to be united in the Word.  The Word is truth.  

Be good to each other.  Listen to one another.  Pray for one another.

Come Holy Spirit!