June 1, 2017
by Tamora Whitney
Creighton University's English Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Memorial of Saint Justin, Martyr
Lectionary: 300

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11
Psalms 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11
John 17:20-26

Daily Easter Prayer

Celebrating Easter Home

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer
An Easter Blessing

Easter Joy in Everyday Life

Today is all about unity. In the Gospel Jesus is praying for us. For you and me reading this now. He says specifically that he is not only praying for his people then and there, but for everyone who will learn of him, who will hear about him, and who will follow him. Not just the disciples there. Not just the people following him then, but everyone who will follow him in the future. That’s us. Here and now. And what he prays for is unity. He prays that we might all be connected like he is connected to God. As Jesus is one with the Father, he prays that we will be one with Jesus and with God and with each other. This is a vision of a unified church where we know God because we recognize Jesus, and we know each other because we all know Jesus. We know God’s love through Jesus and share that love with each other. His prayer for unity is that we might all be brought to perfection as one. Wouldn’t that be great?

It’s too bad it hasn’t happened yet. In the first reading Paul is in trouble for hoping for the resurrection of the dead. He’s not exclaiming it or preaching it, but just hoping for it! And it’s divisiveness that saves him. The Sadducees did not believe in spirits, but the Pharisees believed and wanted to give Paul the benefit of the doubt in case his words were inspired by angels. The Lord comes to him and tells him to keep bearing witness and to keep trying to unify. Today we celebrate the feast of St. Justin Martyr who was a theologian in the early church. He was a pagan until he heard about Jesus and saw the reason in the religion. He witnessed and taught before he was martyred, and it’s said that when he was questioned and asked to give up the meeting place for the Christians, he said that Christians do not have a single meeting place, but can meet anywhere because God is everywhere, fills the heavens and the earth, and is worshipped everywhere. God is everywhere, and we are one in God.

God so loved the world that he gave us his only son. And his son so loved all of us that he gave us God, and each other, and a hope of the resurrection of the dead. And most of all gave us unity. He prays that we will be in God and Jesus and united with each other, “that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one.” Instead of being separate and divisive, we should seek the unity of God and come together in unity with Jesus and each other and share the love of God.

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