Be in your prayer space, follow the usual steps and settle into silence.

Take a couple of gentle, slow and deep breaths…becoming aware of your breath going in and out… stay focused on this breath of life……

Breathe in all that is of God and from God…all that is true, honest, pure, admirable, noble, decent, virtuous, worthy of praise, good, loving, kind – all that deserves respect..

Settle into silence, into peacefulness, into profound silence, into pure joy. Keep listening in quietness, stillness and serenity. Come to that place, that space within, that place of deep silence – Solitude…to just being here and now, without having to accomplish something.

Now I invite you to consecrate your time and all that come with this moment….in your own way, in humble, simple, may be even inadequate words………..

It’s time to rest with God……to rest in God. This hour…..this moment…..rest in God. Good-bye to all goals, projects, structures, situations, feelings, thoughts…I am in meditation, in contemplation, resting in God, abiding in God.

This meditation is on the prayer of Jesus for unity, harmony, oneness with God and with our brothers and sisters (John 17). Only the love that abides in the hearts of men and women can tear down the barriers that keep us apart and bring us into communion with God and one another. Changed by the Easter event, the first believers maintained a healthy unity, harmony among themselves despite differences, “community of believers was of one mind and one heart” (Acts 4:32-35).

Distinctions as regards gender, race, ethnic background, socio-economic status, etc. were causes of friction and separation among them…..but Easter changed everything! Belongingness to the saving cross and the death and resurrection of Christ changed them radically. They were a new people and they were one, unified, harmonious group…they became a community in Christ!

Easter transformed their life and gave them new sense of belongingness in community!

One of the Psalms that we prayed frequently during the Easter season was Psalm 118. This is an all-embracing, universal, missionary Psalm inviting all people to thank God and proclaim His steadfast love. The Psalmist calls Israel (the people of God), the house of Aaron (the priestly class) and those who fear the Lord (the Gentile converts) – all people, including the Gentiles (heathens) to praise and proclaim God’s enduring love. The Church has been singing this Psalm at Easter as it is an all-inclusive Psalm, inviting all people, including the Gentiles proselytes to praise God.

This is what the early Christians experienced, Jews and Gentiles rallying around, singing loud and praising the one true God, the God of covenant love, unfailing, unconquerable love. One God, one faith, one baptism, one Body…one community of faith became a reality!

Take a few moments and pray for such unity, for a communion of all people under one God, the God of covenant Love! Pray for harmony, unity in diversity, communion of people, religion and cultures.

St. John, in his first letter, tells us that those who are in Christ and those in whom Christ remains must love one another in spirit and in truth, in word and in deed. If our love is real, in word and in deed, we know that God is with us, the spirit of Jesus lives in us and that our hearts are pure. (1 John 3:18-24)

Easter people must do some real loving… Be loving, compassionate, caring, gracious people! May this be the sign of our communion, our intimacy with Christ!

St. John encouraged his community (I John 5:1-6) to maintain unity in spirit because the Love of God has made us his children. This is the gift of Easter. To help us with the change that Easter calls forth, we are also gifted with the Holy Spirit. The Spirit promotes Peace and harmony…this too is the gift of Easter.

The spirit helps us to grow beyond doubt into personal faith, as we see in the case of Thomas the Apostle.

The experience of fellowship which the early Christians enjoyed helped them to overcome their fears of persecution. They were able to accept Saul the persecutor who had become Paul the missionary, the proclaimer of the good news of Jesus (Acts 9:26-31).

The same Spirit, who empowered the early Christian community and brought a radical change in the life of Saul/Paul, continues to be with us. The Spirit blows/moves where the Spirit wills and continues to reveal God’s truth through the most surprising people, events and situations.

Be alert, awake and docile to the Holy Spirit! May the Holy Spirit bring you into fellowship with others!

Pray for unity in diversity, respect for others, communion of cultures, and harmony in the universe!

Jesus had taught his disciples the need to abide in him, to be in communion with him.

I am the vine, you are the branches……..remain in me, you will be fruitful……you can do nothing without me………
(John 15:1-8)

Fruitfulness of the branches depends on their union, connection with the vine. Fruitfulness also depends on the branches being trimmed, pruned and cleaned. We could rephrase it to read “fruitfulness depends on being tamed, disciplined, controlled, directed, channeled, etc. – wild branches do not yield….they become unyielding!”

The branches become fruitful only in the vine. Abide in Christ….be united with him….live in his spirit…..you will bear much fruit!

The vine itself doesn’t bear the fruit. Vine bears the branches and feeds the branches and the branches bear the fruit. Be constantly fed by the “word” of Jesus and the “bread” of life and “cup” of compassion that Jesus offers. You will be fruitful.

Be open and docile to the Holy Spirit! Be open to being pruned, trimmed, cleansed, disciplined, tamed…..be docile to the pruning process of the heavenly father…wild branches become unyielding! Be yielding…Be fruitful!

Jesus Prays for All Believers (John 17:20-26) that they will be one just He is one with the Father.

“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 so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

Jesus, first, prayed for himself as he was preparing himself to face the cross. Then he prayed for his disciples and God’s power for them. Now his prayer takes a sweep into the distant future and into distant lands and prays for all who will believe…..for oneness!

His prayer was that all will be one – all will experience the kind of oneness that he experienced with the Father; that all will be one in the oneness of himself and the Father; that the world will believe that the Father sent him; that the unity of all will be complete; that all will have a vision of the gift of glory that comes from the Father’s love; that the Father’s love will live in all…….

The prayer of Jesus centers on abiding in him, in love, in unity, in harmony, in eternal glory – God living in us and we living in God. It is this unity, harmony, oneness that will convince the world of the truth of Christianity, the truth that Jesus came to proclaim and the place of Jesus in our life and the life of the world.

Only the love that abides in the hearts of men and women can tear down the barriers that keep us apart and bring us into communion with God and one another.

Fr. Gus Tharappel, msfs

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