SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C.
29th May 2022.
Acts 7:55-60; Apocalypse 22:12-14,16-17,20; John 17:20-26.
Today’s gospel is on Christian unity. Jesus said that the unity of Christians is the conformation of his being sent by the Father. He said, ‘Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.’ The foundation of Christian unity is forgiveness. We recall Jesus in the gospel read on the solemnity of the Ascension saying, ‘You see how it is written that the Christ would suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that, in his name, repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be preached to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.’ Jesus intentionally instituted a Christian unity that is founded on forgiveness in order to widen its scope.
The boundary of the Christian unity through forgiveness is endless. The basic principle is what we discussed in last Sunday’s homily. Forgiveness understands our ignorance of the nature of violence and the collective involvement in every human crisis. In the first reading, Stephen forgave his executioners because he understood their ignorance. By forgiving them, he opened the door of unity. Also in the second reading from the book of the Apocalypse, the author mentioned the admittance into the Holy city, those who have washed their clothes in the blood of the lamb. Those who have washed their clothes in the blood of the lamb represent all the baptized. Through the washing of baptism, the scope of the Christian unity is extended.
It is important to note that Christian unity is extended to all not as a result of relaxing the laws of the church. Rather it is achieved through the reflection of the meaning of forgiveness. As Jesus’ disciples, we must continue the project of Christian unity through reconciliation. Building bridges of unity in our relationships is a good place to start. As we wait for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit, let us dispose our minds towards a Christian unity founded on forgiveness.
Fr Anthony Ekpunobi, CM.