John 17:11-19 Keep Them One
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Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one…I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.”
Oneness as totality. I just came back from breakfast with a good solid Catholic whom I have known for years. During our conversation, he repeated to me a conversation he had with a work associate and how he finds it hard to talk to him about God. Apparently, his co-worker does not have God in his life; that is, “God is not even on his radar”. And although this co-worker is financially successful, he apparently is not successful in relationships. He has been in one bad relationship after another. This individual made the following comment, “I see the world in one way: war. We are constantly at war with one another; constantly battling each other to get above the other. We don’t work together. We don’t care about each other, etc.”
As my friend was describing his conversation, I interrupted him and said, “Yes, this is all true, if your friend sees the world with only one eye or a black eye.”
Who could possibly live alone in this world? We need each other! We were made for one another. Why? Because we need a little bit of everyone in our lives. We need a little bit of soldier in our life; a little bit of a comedian in our life; a little bit of Man vs. Wild in our life. Others help me to be what I can be; in my oneness and in its totality. What I don't need is sin. But even there, I can deal with it the way that Christ dealt with it and be a greater man.
The Lord of All invites us to see others through His eyes; through His experiences. He invites us to see life through him. He gave us others to put it into practice. The Lord knew how to be humble, tough, compassionate, loving and merciful. He also knew how to be downright mighty, powerful and witty. He was perfectly one and total. “One”, for there was no sin in Him. “Total”, because He was truly God and truly man.
We don’t see UV or Infrared radiation, but they’ve always been there. We don’t see microwaves or radio waves, but their presence today is definitely noticed and utilized. Let's be honest, without God in our life, we are missing a very big chunk of our “totalness”; the “all that is seen and unseen” piece. Without God I will reduce my life to my state of being. It is no surprise whatsoever that I will see the world as “one gigantic struggle” if I am going through struggles myself. I will see the world as “one lost planet”, if I am struggling with loss, despair and sadness. But the world is not lost and neither am I. It’s not unnoticed and neither am I, even if I and my planet do not occupy the center of the solar system.
Christ went through struggle and loss and yet, he was able to say, and say it convincingly, “Be at peace. I have conquered the world.” I find it amazing that the Lord would pray to his Father with the following words: “The world hated them [the Apostles], because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.”
See the irony? Of course the Father and the Son belong to this world; but not a fallen world. And we don’t belong to it either. Our enemies do, and for this reason we are considered a threat, a danger to them. Do you not know that the world fears us? Christians have been known to smile at their death sentence; to sing right before their execution. And this scares them. Christians have been known to never give in or give up. Eternity is on our side. We live and work the totality of time: timelessness. We live and work in the oneness of Christ. If we work [together] with the Lord, we will suffer [together] with the Lord, but we shall also rise [together] with the glory of the Lord. All at once. All for One.
Keep them one as we are one. This means far more than we could ever define or even imagine. This “oneness” between the Father and the Son goes beyond comprehension. But, let’s not forget, we were created in the image and likeness of our God, and so, there is something solid to hold on to. Let’s see if we can figure it out together.
When we were young, we grew up with Darwin’s paradigm of the world: “survival-of-the-fittest”. But there is a new paradigm that is emerging in the scientific community: “support-for-one-another.” Instead of seeing the world as simply fight and flight, others are seeing it in its totality: synergism. The obvious is beginning to emerge. Isn’t it obvious that we need each other? Isn’t it obvious that there is a synergism among creatures? We really do need each other in order to survive and flourish.
God doesn't need us, but He does want us. The Father loved the world so much that he sent his only Son into the world, not to condemn the world but to save the world. The Father loves His Son. The Father sends the Son. The Son loves a sinful world. The Son loves his own in the world. The Apostles make disciples. The disciples love the Church. The Church loves its own and reaches out in love to the unchurched.
We cry, we shed blood, we sweat, and for what? Not just for ourselves, but for each other! Yes, enemy and friend. And by doing so, we give a powerful witness of meaning to one another. At Miletus, Paul gave his final words to the presbyters [priests] knowing full well that he would never see them again. They embraced him and wept bitterly. Why? Because He loved them in life and in death. Keep watch over yourselves and over the whole flock of which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, in which you tend the Church of God that he acquired with his own Blood. Remember that for three years, night and day, I unceasingly admonished each of you with tears…I have never wanted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing…I just want you to love God and others.
Yes, the Lord shed his blood for the Church! And invites us to shed our blood for Him and for others! We live for Him and for others. We die for Him and for others. We can be one in His Oneness. We can be made whole.