Fr Paul reads from the Gospel of John (17: 20-26) in which Jesus prays to the Father for unity among believers so that the world may see and also believe it was the Father who sent him.

In this final part of the high priestly prayer of Jesus, Fr Paul says, Jesus suddenly turns from concern for the circle of his disciples to concern for the wider circle of future disciples and he prays for their unity. The unity of the disciples was to be a sign not only horizontally a sign of their love for one another, but also vertically, a sign of the love of Jesus for them and the mutual love of Jesus and the Father. It was to be a sign for the world, ‘that the world may believe that you sent me’.

There is a story that in extreme old age the Apostle John would be carried into the Christian assembly and asked to give them a saving message. All he would say was, ‘Love one another’. And at the early martyrdoms, the spectators would say, ‘See how these Christians love one another!’

Mindful of this today, Fr Paul invites our Gospel reflection to centre on ‘How well do I love those around me?’