The Seventh Week of Easter
On the very eve of his death, Jesus reminded his disciples of all that he had taught them, all the things that were central to his ministry. He stressed the importance of community, of selflessness, of commitment to the well-being of others, all culminating in his commandment: “to love one another as I have loved you.” And, as we heard in last week's Gospel lesson, he comforted them, saying that he would not leave them orphaned but rather would continue to be with them, only now in heaven. Indeed, he promised that he would send them an advocate, the Holy Spirit, to be with them always to guide them and to inspire them to spread his ministry to others, spreading the message of God’s love put into practice by our love for each other.
Now, on his last night with them, as this farewell discourse continues, he moves to prayer. Jesus prays for the disciples to be unified through their love of God and, through their devotion to Christ’s ministry, to share that love with all humanity. This is also a call to us to be guided by love in our interactions with others – loved ones and strangers, friends and enemies.
When we think of the great and complex divisions that mark our society today, - divisions in families, in churches, in communities, among peoples and cultures worldwide - it is striking to consider that Jesus offered us such a simple solution to our separation from each other – he calls us to repair our divisions and to find unity in God’s creation by being guided by love, love that compels us to have true concern and compassion for our neighbor and leads us to be of service to each other. By doing this simple thing, we begin to live the life that God calls us to live.