What Did Jesus Pray For?
“There is one body and one spirit, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:5-6).
As baptized Catholics, we have an obligation to work toward Christian unity. Our witness to the world represents the divine mission of Christ, and it begins with the conversion of our own lives.
At the Last Supper, Jesus discussed many things with His disciples. He reminded them of the necessity to serve one another with humility. He talked about His pending departure, and the difficulties they would face in His absence. He told them unity with God the Father was essential and promised them the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus made it clear there would be persecution to the point of death but assured them if they remained true to His teachings, they would be protected. He died so that no one would be separated from God the Father. The last will and testament of Jesus was a prayer for unity.
Christianity has been divided since its beginning, and there is plenty of evidence for this in Scripture. We must remember that most divisions in Christianity happened because of problems in submitting to authority. Sin has been the source of all breaks in Christian unity. Our society does not talk about the consequences of sin anymore; and yet, the existence of sinfulness is in the news every day.
We do, however, have great reason for hope! There are wonderful people in the world, and amazing things happen every day. The news coverage is all about the sensational; and sadly, goodness doesn’t always qualify as newsworthy these days.
I attended a Women’s Welcome Retreat at my parish, Sts. Francis and Clare, this past month. The fellowship, reflection and time in prayer with these women of faith were incredible. I made many new friends and discovered a reason for renewed hope in the Church, as well as, the news media.
There were five people at my table, and two of the women had just entered the Catholic Church through the RCIA Program. Both families had developed a passion for knowledge of the Catholic faith. The desire was created when their husbands started listening to Catholic Radio during their daily commute to work. These families had not met one another until they started the formation at church, but their stories of conversion are very similar. I was impressed with the commitment they pursued in seeking answers. One of the families spent a year studying the faith with their children. They decided to take the first step, and attend a Mass together. Once they had prayed as a family, they approached the pastor about information in joining the Church. As a cradle Catholic, I am overwhelmed by the intent and thought put into making their decision.
The role of the Church is the salvation of souls, but human effort alone is not enough. Jesus prayed to His Father for unity, and we must continually pray that Christian unity will be strengthened. “Place all your hope in the prayer of Christ for the Church, in the love of the Father for us, and in the power of the Holy Spirit” (CCC 822). In this world filled with division, what do you pray for? I hope you pray for unity, and strength for the Body of Christ … the Church. Amen!