In an age of persecution when the Church sought to keep itself to itself, St. Justin stands out as a man brave enough to speak the truth. St. Justin is honoured as the Church’s first apologist and he wrote several important books which give us first hand information about the life and worship of the early Church. Before he was condemned to death for being a Christian Justin was asked: If you are killed do you suppose you will go to heaven? Justin said: I do not suppose it, but I know and am fully persuaded of it. St. Justin was beheaded in the year 165 and went gladly to be with the Truth he had longed for all his life.
Our Lord prayed that all his followers may be one, as he and the Father are one. But how can so many different people become united? Not even one person is the same as another. There’s the angry teenager covered with tattoos who lives down the street, our next door neighbour who is an atheist, even the close relative who doesn’t share our faith. How can Our Lord possibly expect us to be one with all of the others in our midst?
Well, it can only happen through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit’s greatest work is to create unity. Just think of how he brought together heaven and earth, God and humanity, through the Cross of Christ. Now if the Holy Spirit can do that on such a cosmic scale, surely he is capable of helping all of us to get along. The Holy Spirit brought together Pharisees and tax collectors, Gentiles and Jews, centurions and fishermen into one church in Jerusalem. Personal grudges, prejudices, and fears all melted away as the Spirit touched people’s hearts and showed them how wonderful life could be if they all came together in Christ.
Someone once asked me if becoming one in Christ meant acting like clones? Of course not. God created us as unique individuals, each with the ability to glorify him in our own way. Besides, uniformity is boring. God simply wants to do away with our tendency to separate and treat as unequal those who are different from us. He wants us to see that we all belong to each other and that we are all equally loved and treasured by our heavenly Father.
Becoming one with the seven and a half billion other human beings on our planet is, to say the least, unrealistic. But we can focus on becoming one with the people we see every day, the people with whom we share our lives.
Pentecost is almost here. And so today, let us honour the Holy Spirit by asking him to make us one so that the world might catch a glimpse of God’s love.