The WORD in Other Words by Fr Abs Borja SVD (Jerusalem)
Thursday Week 7 Easter, Acts 22:30; 23:6-11, Jn 17:20-26
We just read a portion of the long prayer of Jesus written by John the Evangelist. In it, we find the deep desire of Jesus for all believers — “that they may be one.” This desire comes from a life lived in constant communion with God.
Who are the believers being referred to by Jesus? The answer comes from Jesus himself, “Father, they are your gifts to me.” A believer is a gift of the Father to the Son. A believer must be aware that he or she is a gift —a precious gift indeed —and, thus, must act as a gift at the bidding of the Son. Jesus desires that these gifts will become one and, ultimately, one in Him so that they may be brought to “perfection as one.”
In one of my visits to the Holy Sepulchre Shrine, | met a nun who worked in Syria for more than ten years. She shared unforgettable experiences, particularly the difficult circumstances during the war. When asked about the day she left Syria, there was momentary silence and tears welled in her eyes. Then, she replied: “I left Syria more than a year ago. We, members of the Christian community, cannot simply leave if someone would remain. No one should be left alone. Either we leave the place together or we stay and die together.”
These words echo Jesus‘ prayer for unity among believers. These words portray a community who strove to realize the desire of Jesus to be one in Him.