St. Justin, Martyr
Acts 22:30;23:6-11 + John 17:20-26
June 1, 2017
“‘…so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you.’”
There are many types of unity. For example, if two persons agree about a political issue, and join a common party, these two persons have political unity. If two persons agree about a moral teaching, or agree to act in common on behalf of a moral goal, these two persons have moral unity. If two students study for doctorates in physics, specializing in the same specific topic, and become the two foremost experts in the world about that topic, these two persons have intellectual unity. Two persons can be united by far less significant matters: they can be united by their nationality, by the clothes they wear, or by the physical space they share (in an elevator, a house, or a courtroom).
Two siblings are united by their parentage, and identical twins enjoy an even more specific genetic unity. Beyond physicals traits, siblings—or a parent and child—can be united by psychological traits, temperament, or even predispositions towards certain virtues and vices.
None of these is what Jesus is preaching about in John 17:21. Jesus is preaching about something far more profound.
The tiny word “as” in this petition—“that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you”—unlocks the meaning of the verse. Reflect, meditate, and contemplate the meaning of the Unity that the Three Persons of the Blessed Trinity not merely have or share, but are.