"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us."
Father Matta El-Meskeen (Matthew the Poor)
HERE CHRIST EXTENDS THE INVITATION OF FAITH to all coming generations, and his most important focus is that they be one in the Father and Son. The unity the Son seeks on behalf of all who believe in Christ, from the beginning of Christ’s time to the completion of the revelation, is not a secondary function of faith, and believers must strive for it.
1 See 1 John 2:23.
2 Matt 12:31.
However, the unity of one faith in the united Father and Son is a harvest already gathered, that is, all who believe in the Son have the Father also.1 The Son and Father are one, and by necessity the result is that all who believe in the Father and Son are inescapably one in God without even pursuing it. The mystery of oneness in Christianity is not only its external image but is its essence, and is the strongest of images and essences. Even if through the stupidity of man believers are divided, God will not consider them divided and, whether they like it or not, will deal with them as one in Christ, for the truth of unity in Christianity is its essence drawn from the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Because God is one and Christ is one, even if it is contrary to their desire, believers in Christ will be one. They are one not of themselves but one because the one who gathers and keeps them is one. They are kept and maintained in one embrace, the embrace of Christ, and the eye of the Father that watches over them, watches over all of them as one, for the eye of God does not see the divided nor the quarrelsome. Because the eye of God is pure, so it sees what is pure, and what is truly amazing is that, until the end of the ages, the gaze of Christ will see all believers in obedience and joy! This leads us to believe that Christ works with the new man, taking from him and adding to him through the persistence of his love and according to his patience in atoning for the sins of wrongdoers. It is so very good for the church when it prays for those who have died to pray, “and if they fell into human weakness or negligence… O God forgive them.” (Prayer for the Departed)
It seems to me Christ hears this request and grants it many times over, for in the Bible he is the one who says, “every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men.” 2 We are not making light of God’s discipline or the anger of the lamb over the lack of love and growing darkness among men. Nonetheless, God’s mercy triumphs. This is our living hope for all men, because of Christ who was sacrificed on the cross for those who are ignorant and sinful.
When the Son went to the Father, he left his disciples as strangers in the world, and they would have been left as orphans if not for the Holy Spirit poured out upon them. At this time, he prayed for his disciples, and even the greatest works of Christ recorded in the Gospel become small in comparison to this prayer for them. He strengthens them, empowers them, fortifies them and deepens their resolution, so that Christ as he is leaving for the Father is assured with the fullest measure of joy that his work has borne fruit. Rising before the Father is the incense of a living sacrifice that speaks the true affection of fatherhood and sonship.
July 26, 2005
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