”I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. [RSV]
This Holy Thursday we solemnly remember and celebrate Jesus giving us the most Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, the gift of His Body and Blood. Words, paintings, images cannot contain or fully express the infinite graces and mercies God provides for us all in this gift, to all who will believe in Him.
This Holy Thursday I am especially mindful of the thoughts of Jesus Himself that holy night before He went to the garden and His passion. As He was gathered with His disciples He shared that Passover and instituted what we have come to celebrate as the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, Holy Communion. The synoptic Gospels all give clear accounts of Jesus breaking the bread and sharing the cup. But in John’s Gospel, written many years later, we are allowed to listen to the further words Jesus spoke, we are able to essentially listen to the heartbeat of God as shared by the disciple who leaned upon His breast.
Jesus gives the clear example of our being servants in the washing of the feet. He then goes on to teach, clearly, our need to abide in Him, in the Living Word and to love God and each other as He loved us. Christ then provides the clear promise of the empowering and guiding graces of the Holy Spirit to enable us to be, to become, what He created, saved and calls us to be, His people, His Body. (John 13 – 16).
This passionate dialogue is then concluded by our Lord’s prayer in the full text of the seventeenth chapter. He prays for those who would live through the next harrowing hours. He prays for us, those who would come to believe through their witness. Then Jesus concludes this prayer, just prior to going to the Garden of Gethsemane, with the words beginning this post….”I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. [RSV]
As I reflect upon this prayer and then as I see so many divisions and so many intent on building these divisions and strife I am so sorrowful. The perils of clericalism, the perils of arguments over traditions and liturgies, the perils of judging all those sinning differently than the preferred norms.. all these divisions feel to me as mockings of Him who prayed, as lashes upon His back, as nails pounded into His Holy Body.
Jesus, forgive us, have mercy on us, we know not what we do. We know not You as we should.