VATICAN CITY, APRIL 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In his final hour, the Lord is asking each of us: Are you living in fellowship with me?
This was the reflection proposed by Benedict XVI in this evening’s Mass of the Lord’s Supper. The Pope considered three texts from Christ’s priestly prayer.
The last of the three is the one the Holy Father said is the “best-known petition of the priestly prayer”: the petition for the unity of the disciples, now and yet to come.
“What exactly is the Lord asking for?” the Pope considered.
“First,” he said, “he prays for his disciples, present and future. He peers into the distance of future history. He sees the dangers there and he commends this community to the heart of the Father.”
In this prayer, the Pontiff proposed, appear the essential elements of the Church: “the community of disciples who through the apostolic preaching believe in Jesus Christ and thus become one. Jesus prays for the Church to be one and apostolic.”
“This prayer, then, is properly speaking an act which founds the Church,” the Pope affirmed.
So the world believes
Benedict XVI also noted how the Lord twice prays “that this unity should make the world believe in the mission of Jesus.”
“It must thus be a unity which can be seen,” he explained, ” a unity which so transcends ordinary human possibilities as to become a sign before the world and to authenticate the mission of Jesus Christ.”
This prayer gives the assurance that “the preaching of the Apostles will never fail throughout history; that it will always awaken faith and gather men and women into unity — into a unity which becomes a testimony to the mission of Jesus Christ,” the Pope said.
But, he added, the prayer is also a challenge to a “constant examination of conscience.”
He proposed: “At this hour the Lord is asking us: are you living, through faith, in fellowship with me and thus in fellowship with God? Or are you rather living for yourself, and thus apart from faith?
“And are you not thus guilty of the inconsistency which obscures my mission in the world and prevents men and women from encountering God’s love?”
The Holy Father said that part of Christ’s historical passion and his ongoing one is that “he saw, and even now continues to see, all that threatens and destroys unity.”
He encouraged the faithful in meditating on the passion to “also feel Jesus’ pain at the way that we contradict his prayer, that we resist his love, that we oppose the unity which should bear witness before the world to his mission.”
“At this hour, when the Lord in the most holy Eucharist gives himself, his body and his blood, into our hands and into our hearts, let us be moved by his prayer,” the Pontiff exhorted. “Let us enter into his prayer and thus beseech him: Lord, grant us faith in you, who are one with the Father in the Holy Spirit. Grant that we may live in your love and thus become one, as you are one with the Father, so that the world may believe.”
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Full text: www.zenit.org/article-28832?l=english