Peacemaker or Pacemaker? Thursday, 7th Week of Easter – Acts 22:30, 23:6-11/ John 17:20-26

Read also – a reflection on the first reading taken from the Acts of the Apostles.

The prayer of Jesus for his disciples comes to an end and so does the farewell discourse. Jesus has prayed for the disciples because in a “little while” they will no longer see him and while “in a little while” they will see him. Now, the stage has been set for satan, the ‘ruler of this world’ to do what he does best, deceive.

Christ has prayed that that his disciples be protected, guarded and sanctified. In this text, he prays for unity. Four times in this prayer Jesus uses the word “one.” Christ knows that the evil one causes disunity among believers and even more because these apostles who “know that the father has sent Jesus” (17:25) are themselves to become proclaimers to the world.

Up to verse 19 of chapter 17, Jesus has been praying for his disciples. Now Jesus asks for protection, guidance and sanctification not only for “these” (his disciples) but also “on behalf of those who will believe in me through their (disciples) word.” This is the mission mandate in the Gospel of John. The darkness of this world, led by satan, will be destroyed by the message carried by not just the disciples but those to whom the disciples evangelize to. Satan knows that this is open season for war.

Yet Christ is a realist. He knows that Satan uses simple yet effective ways of destroying the children of light; he causes disunity. Jesus prays today, “that they may be one.” (John 17:21) Unity overcomes the divisive tactics of Satan. Those in the Church who actively cooperate by causing division in the Church to further their own personal agendas are nothing but agents of satan. The fragments of Christian Churches is perhaps the biggest scandal of the Church for it has proved the words of Christ true.

Ask yourself today, do people rally around you to be a ‘peacemaker’ or as a consequence of your divisive tactics do others need a pacemaker? People approach us knowing who we truly are and this way their agenda is fulfilled. There is a warning here for many “pillars” of our Churches who refuse to be simple bricks in the wall. These parish pillars are often causes of disunity when they assert their way, their agenda and their plans simply because they do not want to let go of power and position in the Church. They have turned the service of God into a tool of domination. When opposed, they wipe out those who wish to come in and serve. Their cunning agendas and back street gossip has been the cause of the fall of the mission of Christ.

Today, stand on the side of unity for that is where God and Jesus stand.

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