Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter

John 17:20-26

The Prayer of Jesus


Thursday of the 7th Week of Easter

Acts 22:30; 23:6-11; Jn 17:20-26

They May be One

The famous psychologist Victor Frankl in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” narrates his experience in the concentration camp. He was intrigued by the apparent randomness of inmate survival.  He started to ask why some prisoners just seemed to shrivel up and die, while others, under the same cruel and inhuman conditions, somehow seemed to survive.  Naturally, at first he thought it had to do with the prisoner’s physical fitness and health, but he soon noticed that often the most physically fit prisoners would die quickly under the horrible conditions of the camp, while those who seem weak, elderly, and/or unaccustomed to hard labour would survive the longest.  Frankl decided to occupy his mind with a psychological analysis of life in the concentration camp in order to try to unravel this mystery.  Based on his observations and professional reflections Frankl became convinced that the key to survival was meaning.  In other words, those prisoners who found a reason to survive survived, and those who did not find a reason to survive, did not survive.  He writes about an older man who had been a watchmaker, and how he designed in his head, and on any scraps of paper he could find, a most beautiful clock that he wanted to make to replace the one in his home village’s clock tower which was destroyed in the war.  For Frankl himself, his reason to survive was to rewrite the book, based on years of psychological research that he had written and the Nazis had destroyed before his eyes.  All of us, deep down, strive to find meaning in our lives, and that meaning, that reason to survive, is what keeps us going.

Jesus gives us a meaning in life when He prays, “That they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one.”  By reducing this text only to “ecumenism” we may not find its true meaning. It will be like escaping from our real mission. Jesus prayed, “That they may be one as I am one with you, Father, who sent me: one in the intention to redeem, to save, to liberate, to serve, to make grow. Father let them be one in that redemptive purpose ours.”

It is at that practical level that Jesus prays we should be one. It is our mission and it gives meaning to our existence. Fr. Nithin Francis CMI



See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

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