The seventeenth chapter of John’s Gospel captures an intimate conversation between Jesus and God the Father. Jesus and his disciples will soon cross the Kidron Valley and enter into the Garden of Gethsemane. He will be arrested and enter into his Passion. “The hour has come” (Jn 17:1).
Earlier in John’s Gospel, when Mary approaches Jesus at the wedding at Cana, Jesus responds by saying, “My hour has not yet come” (Jn 2:4). Later, when Jesus heals on the Sabbath, the people seek to arrest him, but “no one laid hands on him, because his hour had not yet come” (Jn 7:30). But now, the hour has come, and Jesus turns to the Father in prayer.
What does Jesus say to the Father at this crucial moment? He prays that we all may be one. “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.... The glory which you have given to 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 sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (Jn 17:11; 22–23).
Christ’s prayer is a prayer for the Church—it is a prayer for you and me—so that we may all be regathered into one Mystical Body of Christ, founded on the apostles, sharing by Word and sacrament in that one love between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.