Saturday, June 1, 2019

Gospel Text for Sunday 2 June 2019

John 17:20-26        Jesus prayed for his disciples, and then he said. "I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

"Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”

Reflection        Given the bitterly divided state of our current social, political and religious worlds how can we possibly aspire to becoming ‘completely one’ as Jesus prays? Jesus is not praying for uniformity of custom, singularity of theology, nor homogeneity of political perspectives. Jesus prays for unity, not uniformity. Jesus prays that we experience that which draws us together and is greater than anything can divide. 

When we claim our place in the intimate relationship of humanity with divinity we are participating in something deeper than any possible divisions, we are affirming something wider than the myriad ways we disagree. You see, when we claim our place in the intimate relationship of humanity with divinity we are raised up  with Jesus and experience the glorious unity that is evinced in the love of Jesus with the Father. 

This interpenetrating love, this oneness in relationship with God, is the heart of unity. It is this love, this oneness,  that enables us to bury our hatchets and listen to those with whom we disagree. It is this love, this oneness, that gives us the courage to tare down walls that separate us from those whom we call other. Don’t you see, Jesus is not praying for uniformity of social, political or religious opinion. Jesus is inviting us to claim our place in the life of the Trinity.

What does that mean, life in the Trinity? For help explaining I turn to one of my favorite German theologians, who if still living is nearing one hundred years old. Jürgen Moltmann understands the Trinity as fundamentally social. The three persons of the the Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, are defined by their relationships. Although there are three distinctive individual expressions of being they are understood by their relationships with one another. Relationship is the defining quality.  Trinity is the unparalleled model for our human relationships.

As humans created in the image and likeness of God, we are distinctive individual expressions of being and we are defined by our relationships. We live and breath and find our meaning in our interconnected, interpenetrating relationships. Because the Spirt of God lives and breathes and moves within us, all of us, we participate in what Moltmann calls, the Social Trinity. 

How does that translate to life among us humans? I believe it looks like each one of us and all of us together bringing our core values to bear on the institutions and culture around us. It means questioning our purity codes (who is in and who is out) and stretching the borders of our hearts and minds to make room for everyone. Where ever hatred, hostility or sorrow thrive we are meant to deliver kindness, good will and joyfulness. Where bitterness and resentment abound we are meant to tender friendship and affection.

Through our selfless expressions of love people will be drawn to the source of our love, the love that we experience in the love of God and Jesus the Christ, the love that we share with confidence because we know we are loved and we desire nothing less than to draw all people into the intimate relationship we share with God, into the life of the Social Trinity. 

Listen to Fr. Thomas Keating speak on "Living Ordinary Life with Extraordinary Love," by clicking on top right image.

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