The WORD in Other Words by Fr Alex Muana SVD (Philippines)
Wednesday 7th Week of Easter
Acts 20:28-38, Jn 17:11b-19
Today‘s Gospel message is a call for unity and wholeness in society and in the church, a call for both Jewish and Gentile Christians to accept one another as members of the Body of Christ.
In chapter 2 of the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians, we have evidence of this kind of disparaging language each side used for the other, based on whether or not males were circumcised.
For Jewish Christians, circumcision was a visible sign of their belonging to God; for Gentile Christians, it was now a meaningless procedure since in Christ a new covenant had been established whose outward sign was baptism rather than circumcision.
Jesus‘ teaching is clear. It was God who took the initiative, enabling the healing of humanity that previously had been split in two. God sent his Son to reconcile us not only to God but to one another. Because of Christ, God‘s gift of peace and wholeness is given to us and the old tribal loyalties that divided us in the past have no place in the new society established by God.
In the society of God, there are no degrees of citizenship, no borders, no passes, no passports, no discrimination. All are members of God‘s people, faithful to the traditions and the teachings of the Gospel.
In the metaphor of a building structure. Jesus is the cornerstone. Without Jesus, society has no foundation, no meaning, no basis for existence. This is a vivid image that should make us confident of our efforts towards peace, reconciliation and wholeness.
Our faith teaches us that in working for peace and unity, we are working to make visible the purpose of God — that we may be one just as they are one.