“We must go on that path, men and women united who always seek to go forward on the path of unity – not any false unity, which has no substance, but only serves to get ahead and condemn people and promote interests that are not ours: the interests of the prince of this world, which is destruction.”
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis celebrated Mass this morning in Casa Santa Marta. In his homily, centred on today’s Gospel (Jn 17:20-26) in which Jesus speaks of his unity with the Father, and the accusations against Paul (Acts 22,30; 23:6-11), the pontiff said that we must go towards unity with Jesus, along the path of true, not fake unity, the latter being both condemnation and "chatter" that create division.
The true unity that Jesus speaks about in the Gospel, the one he has with the Father and to which he also wants to bring us, is the "unity of salvation" that makes the Church and leads towards eternity. "When in life, in the Church or civil society we work for unity," we are on the path Jesus laid down.
However, there is also "fake unity", like that of Saint Paul’s accusers. At the beginning, they presented themselves as a single block to accuse him. But Paul was "quick", i.e., he had a human wisdom and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit as well. He threw "the stone of division" saying that he had been "called before the court because of hope in the resurrection of the dead."
Some of the people that showed this false unity were, in fact, Sadducees who claimed that there was "no resurrection, nor any angels or spirits" whilst the Pharisees believed in these things. Thus, Paul was able to destroy this fake unity, which "had no consistency", because a dispute broke out and the assembly that accused him split.
When Saint Paul was persecuted on other occasions, the mob shouted not even knowing what it is saying. The rulers are the ones who told them what to shout. “This exploitation of the people is also [a form of] contempt that turns people into a mob. This is something that has often been repeated since early times to today. Think about it. On Palm Sunday everyone acclaimed him: ‘Blessed are you who come in the name of the Lord.’ Then, the Friday that followed, the same people cried out ‘Crucify him!’ What happened? They were brainwashed and that changed everything. They turned people into a mob that destroys.”
"Dark conditions are created to condemn people,” noted the pope, “then the unity is dissolved. With this method Jesus, Paul, Stephen and all martyrs were persecuted. It is also widely used today, for example in civic life, in political life, when one wants to carry out a coup: the media start to speak ill of people, rulers, and, through slander [and] defamation, sully them."
Then comes justice system, "which condemns them, and in the end the coup is carried out. This persecution can be seen even when the people at the circus shouted to see the fight between the martyrs and the beasts or the gladiators.”
This “environment of fake unity” is always the ring of the chain "to arrive at condemnation". [. . .] To a lesser extent, the same happens in our parish communities for example, when two or three begin to criticise someone, and start to speak ill about someone else . . . They falsely unite to condemn him, feel safe and condemn him. They mentally condemn him, as an attitude; then they split and speak ill of each other because they are divided. This is why chattering is a murderous attitude, because it kills, it takes people out, it destroys people’s 'reputation'. [. . .] they used chattering with Jesus, to discredit him, and once discredited, destroy him.”
“Let’s think of the greatness of the vocation to which we are called: to be one with Jesus, and the Father. We must go on that path, men and women united who always seek to go forward on the path of unity – not any false unity, which has no substance, but only serves to get ahead and condemn people and promote interests that are not ours: the interests of the prince of this world, which is destruction. May the Lord give us the grace of always walking along the path of true unity.”