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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

November 12th: St. Josaphat, bishop and martyr

Gospel text (Jn 17,20-26): Jesus said, «I pray not only for these but also for those who through their word will believe in me. May they all be one as you Father are in me and I am in you. May they be one in us; so the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the Glory you have given me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. Thus they shall reach perfection in unity and the world shall know that you have sent me and that I have loved them just as you loved me.

»Father, since you have given them to me, I want them to be with me where I am and see the Glory you gave me, for you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world has not known you but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me. As I revealed your Name to them, so will I continue to reveal it, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I also may be in them».

«The love with which you loved me may be in them»

Fr. Antoni CAROL i Hostench (Sant Cugat del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

Today we pray the Lord for the "Bread of Heaven grant us the spirit of strength and peace that sustained St. Josaphat, bishop and martyr, so that following his example, we dedicate our lives to fight for the honor and unity of the Church" ("Prayer after communion"). Born in Ukraine and son of parents of Orthodox religion, St. Josaphat (1580-1623) converted to Catholicism and entered the Order of St. Basil. In 1617 he was consecrated bishop. Shortly before, a group of Orthodox bishops had entered into communion with the Pope: Saint Jehoshaphat joined the cause without saving effort.

Jesus, in his priestly prayer, prayed for the unity of his followers. Who could have imagined that, despite the Lord's pleas, the desired unity would be so arduous and expensive? It cost St. Josaphat’s life! (It is protomartyr of the re-unification of Christianity). The strictness of the human heart, even that of the "believing heart", is surprising. Jesus Christ begged the Father "that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I also may be in them" (Jn 17,26). We have the Love of God, the same love with which the Father loves the Son! What else do we want? With this "rain" of love, how are we divided? (even divided to death). We have a long way to win in love for freedom and in love for obedience...

Actually, the problem is that we don't really love; We don't love each other as God loves. Love gladly leads to service. Thus, Christ, being God himself, " emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, (...) He humbled Himself and became obedient to death" (Flp 2,7.8). He came to serve (cf. Mt 20,28): there we see Him, in the Cenacle, without the mantle, wearing a towel - that is, dressed like a servant - washing our feet ... Love attracts, love unites. Saint Josaphat "began to devote himself to the restoration of unity, with such force and, at the same time, with such softness and such fruit, that his own adversaries called him "thief of souls" (Pius XI).