“You must bear witness also at Rome.”
A reading from the Acts of the Apostles (Acts 22:30; 23:6- 11)
In those days: Desiring to know the real reason why the Jews accused Paul, the tribune unbound him, and commanded the chief priests and all the council to meet, and he brought Paul down and set him before them. But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; with respect to the hope and resurrection of the dead I am on trial.” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor spirit; but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamour arose; and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended, “we find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn in pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them and bring him into the barracks. The following night the Lord stood by him said, “Take courage, for as you have testified about me at Jerusalem, so you must bear witness also at Rose.”
The word of the Lord.
RESPONSORIAL PSALM psalm 16:1-2a and 5.7-8.9-10.11 (R.1)
R/. Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord.”
O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
You yourself who secure my lot. R
I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
Who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord before me always;
With him at my right hand, I shall not be moved. R.
And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
Even my flesh shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to hell,
Nor let your holy one see corruption. R.
You will show me the path of life,
The fullness of joy in your presence,
At your right hand, bliss forever. R.
Alleluia. May they all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, so that the world may believe that you have sent me, says the Lord. Alleluia
May they become perfectly one.
A reading from the holy Gospel according to John (John 17:20-26)
At that time: [Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven and prayed, saying,] “I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory which you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to behold my glory which you have given me in your love for me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you; and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Unity is divine as it marks the presence of the Lord. The Jews who gathered against Paul were divided into two parties, the Pharisees and the Sadducees. Division weakened their plan. Jesus prayed that the disciples may be one because he knows the danger of disunity. We must avoid those things that contribute to disunity among Christians such as calumny, dissension, insincerity, gossip, selfishness, pride, arrogance, self-centredness, selfish ambition, discrimination, tribalism, nepotism, and favourism.