In his High Priestly prayer, Jesus said: ”Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one.” Here, Jesus is praying for the Trinitarian Unity for his disciples and would be disciples (John 17:11-19). This Trinitarian unity is what the holy church all through the ages strives to attain. In the history of the church there have been challenges to this unity envisaged by Jesus for his church. There have been constant struggles resulting from those who want unity in uniformity and those who want unity in diversity. Those who are so controlling over others want unity in uniformity. Even in religious communities, we see many who want unity in uniformity and do not tolerate others who differ from their set expectations. Often this results to disagreements and disunity with some people being branded as conformist or non-conformist. Some people feel that others violate their rights and freedom. Unity in uniformity as good as it might be to some extent, seems to contradict the mind of Jesus for his holy Church. The mind of Jesus for his holy church is that his disciples and would be disciples should be one just as He, Jesus and His Father with the Holy Spirit are one in the One-God-Head, Three distinct Persons, Father, Son and The Holy Spirit; Equal in majesty, undivided in splendor, yet One Lord, One God. Unity in diversity builds on God himself and allows different ways of expression of the one truth, respecting each person’s individuality and dignity.
This is what Jesus did in his earthly ministry, he protected his disciples by keeping them in the name of the Father. As he is leaving the world, Jesus prepares his disciples to take his place in the world and to continue his earthly ministry. The only way his disciples could do this is to live in his name. In the Semitic culture, to give name to a person is to define him or her. To name a person is to set boundaries around him or her. In Jesus Christ, God has defined himself. The Name of Jesus represents his person, his characteristics and attributes. To live in the name of Jesus is to live in his person, to act like him, to love like him and to resemble him. This is our goal as Christ’s disciples. We are called to live in union with Jesus, to live in his person, to be Christ-like in every way. This is why Jesus has consecrated himself to the Father that we might be consecrated in the truth to be his other-selves in the world. Being Christ’s other-selves in the world is very important.
Its importance could be seen in our first reading today taken from the Acts of the Apostles, where the college of apostles prayed and elected Mathias to fill up the office made vacant as a result of the betrayal of Judas Iscariot (Acts 1:15-17, 20-26). The purpose of this is to bear witness to Jesus, beginning from the baptism of John until the day on which he was taken up. Another importance of the election of Matthias to complete the original number of the apostles in the apostolic college is to highlight the importance of unity in diversity. Without unity in diversity, it will not be possible to live out Christ’s injunction to love one another as he has loved us with the same love with which the Father loved him. As we saw last Sunday, Jesus wants us to remain in his love. Without diversity, it will be difficult to practice Christ’s commandment of loving one another.
On that note, St. John tells us to love one another because love is of God. Everyone who loves is begotten of God, and has knowledge of God. Today, he goes on to tell us that if God has loved us, we must have the same love for one another. God’s love comes to perfection in us, in our love for one another, which is testified to through his giving us of his Spirit. To conclude, he tells us that God is love, and he, who abides in love abides in God, and God in him (1 John 4:11-16).
Being a witness to the life, death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus and the sending of the Holy Spirit, is very important. Each of us is called to be a witness of the love of Christ, like Mathias and the Apostles. For that reason, we are called to live in the person of Jesus Christ and to love one another like Jesus.