Collect of the Day:
Almighty God, as we celebrate the Resurrection, may we share with each other the joy the Risen Christ has won for us.
We make our prayer through Jesus Christ your Son Our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, ever One God world without end. Amen.
The First Reading: Acts of the Apostles 11:19-26: They preached to the Greeks proclaiming the Lord Jesus.
The Gospel: John 10:22-30: My Father and I are one.
In todays Gospel the nation of Israel is celebrating God’s presence with them at the Feast of Dedication. In celebrating this Feast the Hebrew people pride themselves on their reconstructed Temple, the physical evidence of their belonging to God and in a sense of God belonging to them. It is at this time that Jesus tells them that there is another way God is present to them. They can be sure they are in the Father’s hand if they believe in Jesus. Jesus insists that faith in His word unites the believer not only to himself but to God who is His Heavenly Father.
This is confirmed by the last statement that Jesus makes in this passage:
“The Father and I are one.”
What did Jesus mean by this statement? Is this statement a mystery only to be discussed in metaphysical terms by theologians and philosophers of the Church? Or is there a more simple and practical approach to this matter that we can benefit from today? Let us for a minute skip ahead in the Gospel of St. John to the 17th chapter to a passage that may shed some light on this issue. It is here that John tells us of the prayer that Jesus prayed for His followers on the night He was betrayed:
“Holy Father, keep them in Your Name those whom You have given me, that they may be one as we are one.”
Here it is clear that Jesus conceived of the unity of Christian with Christian as the same as His own unity with the Father. Further on in the same chapter He goes on to say:
“I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message. May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one they in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one.”
Here Jesus is saying with a clarity that is hard to mistake that the aim of Christian life is that Christians should be one as He and His Father are one. But what is the unifying factor between one Christian and another? The secret to that union is LOVE. Jesus tells us in John 13:34:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Christians are one because of their love for one another, as Jesus is one with the Father because of His love for God. Though what is the test and proof and guarantee of this love? Again I will let Our Blessed Lord explain:
“If you keep my commandments, you shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”
It is here that we find the very essence of the whole matter. The bond of unity is love; the proof of love is obedience. Christians are one with each other when they are bound by the bond of unity, and obedience to the words and actions of Christ. Jesus’s unity with the Father is a perfect unity of love, issuing in a perfect obedience. He was one with the Father because He loved God perfectly and obeyed God perfectly.
So when Jesus stated that “The Father and I are one.” He was not moving in the realm of metaphysics and philosophy, rather He was moving in the world of personal relationships. A personal relationship with the Father from which we all can learn a lot.
O Jesus, my supreme good, I love you, not for the sake of the reward which you have promised to those who love you, but purely for yourself. I love you above all things that can be loved, above all pleasures, and above myself and all that is not you, promising in the presence of heaven and earth that I will live and die purely and simply in your holy love, and that if to love you thus I must endure persecution and suffering, I am completely satisfied and I will ever say with St. Paul: Nothing will be able to separate us from the love of God. O Jesus, supreme master of all hearts, I love you, I adore you, I praise you, I thank you, because I am now all yours. Rule over me and transform my soul into the likeness of yourself, so that it may bless and glorify you forever in the abode of the saints. Amen. (St. Margaret Mary Alacoque 1647-1690)