📕Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26; Ps 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20ab (R.v.19a); 1 John 4:11-16; John 17:11b-19

The unity of all believers is undoubtedly paramount in the mind of Jesus when he made his priestly prayer in John 17. This unity is one which comes through our common heritage in God through Christ. As we gradually draw to the close of the Easter season, we are presented with this theme because that is what would guarantee the success of the task which Jesus gives us to go into the world and make disciples of all nations (Matt 28:19).

Notice some salient features of the pericope (John 17:11-19), which we are considering today. Jesus prayed that God may keep his disciples in his name (John 17:11). That name is the name that initiates miracles (cf. Acts 3:6) and gives life (cf. John 20:31). Jesus wants us to have life, to its fullness (cf. John 10:10).

Again, he prayed that they may be consecrated in truth. The act of consecration is an act of setting someone/something aside from others, especially from profanation. Recall that the people of Israel were chosen from among the nations on the face of the earth and, by that, were consecrated to God (cf. Deut 7:6-8). By the fact of that consecration, they became Gods special possession (Exod 19:5; Isa 19:25), and God fought for them against every adversity.

Today, the spread of fake news, especially through our social media, is a big threat against that consecration to the truth. Hence Pope Francis, in his message for World Communication Day 2018 calls on us to shun the spread and reception of fake news, which introduce hatred and division among us. As an alternative, we must seek and embrace the truth, in which lies our freedom and peace. He reminded us that it is only by following Christ that we can be led to that truth.

Notice that before praying for that special consecration of his disciples, Jesus already contrasted between them and the world, which is in opposition to the truth. Being consecrated in Jesus, who is the truth (cf. John 14:6), they would be kept safe from the evil one.

We can now see that it is a special privilege for us to be disciples of Jesus. Yet, there is a responsibility which we must uphold in order to remain faithful disciples we must be in unity with others and possess sincere hearts. Those were the criteria with which Matthias was selected to replace Judas in the First Reading.

No one can really live in unity with others and possess sincere heart without love. God is that uniting force, and he who does not love does not know God because God is love (1 John 4:16). Jesus himself said, By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another (John 13:35).

The Holy Spirit is that love that binds the Godhead. As we await the special outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, we pray that he may fall afresh in our lives, bind us in that special Trinitarian love, in union with all Christs faithful, and protect us from the manipulations of the world. Amen.

Have a blessed and lovely Sunday. Peace be with you.

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