Jesus prays for unity among his disciples and among those who through the teaching of his disciples will come to believe in him. He says: “May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I in you . . .” (John 17:21).
These words of Jesus reveal the mystery that unity among people is not first of all the result of human effort, but rather a divine gift. Unity among people is a reflection of the unity of God. The desire for unity is deep and strong among people. It is a desire between friends, between married people, between communities, and between countries. Wherever there is a true experience of unity, there is a sense of giftedness. While unity satisfies our deepest need, it cannot be explained by what we say or do. There exists no formula for unity.
When Jesus prays for unity, he asks his Father that those who believe in him, that is, in his full communion with the Father, will become part of that unity. I continue to see in myself and others how often we try to make unity among ourselves by focusing all our attention on each other and trying to find the place where we can feel united. But often we become disillusioned, realizing that no human being is capable of offering us what we most want. Such disillusionment can easily make us become bitter, cynical, demanding, even violent.
Jesus calls us to seek our unity in and through him. When we direct our inner attention not first of all to each other, but to God to whom we belong, then we will discover that in God we also belong to each other.