No Greater Love

Doing God’s will is the path of oneness in God. And Oneness in God is the only path to oneness in the world.

Most would agree that unity is a noble goal, but at times, in the pursuit of unity, times of division are inevitable. Take for example the first reading today. Paul is brought before the chief priests and Sanhedrin, and there is quite a stir! It began with Paul sharing his testimony and ending with the message that he was to carry the Gospel to the Gentiles because the Jews would not accept it.

When he is brought before the chief priests, Sadducees, and Pharisees, even greater discord ensues when he brings up the topic of the resurrection of the body. That night, having escaped the threat of death and being imprisoned, Paul hears the Lord tell him to have courage as he will be sent to bear witness in Rome just as he did in Jerusalem.

Nothing about this scene points to oneness and harmony, or does it?


The Psalm today begins to unveil the truth: Keep me safe, O God, you are my hope! (Ps. 16:1). Oneness in God is the only path to oneness in the world. Despite any turmoil and dissension, nothing can break the divine oneness of Trinitarian Love or our union with God within it. The Psalm assures us that He keeps us safe, undisturbed, joyful, and confident. So why do we feel disturbed and timid if God is for us?

Understanding and Doing God's Will

The reality is that He never walks away from us for any reason, but we often drift away from Him. We remove ourselves from the vine, not only when we sin in the obvious ways, but every time our own will puffs up against His. Whether we revolt, or even recoil, in the face of a difficult cross in our lives, we have exiled ourselves from His Will, His Kingdom. If He in his infinite wisdom and fatherly love has allowed us to experience suffering, then we can be assured that He will indeed draw good from it, a good far better than if we had been spared.

We can take heart that there is a great antidote for when our human will struggles against the will of the Father. A simple one-word prayer: Fiat! It is what Mary said at the Annunciation—“Let it be done to me according to Your Will.” It is what Jesus said in the Garden—“Not my will but Yours be done.” Fiat is a word of utter faith and confidence in a God who pours Himself out for us. His love for us is unimaginable!

A Declaration of Love

If we want to be completely assured of this, we need only to listen intently to His Declaration of His Love and desire for total oneness with us as we hear in the Gospel today. This passage is part of the Last Supper Discourse. Even if you have already read or heard today’s readings, PLEASE give yourself a great gift and go read the Gospel (John 17: 20-26) again!

Hear the love and longing that is gushing from Jesus’s heart and remember! Remember that this beautiful profession of his love and desire for unity with us is being declared as he faces his impending passion and death. There is truly no greater love story than this!

(Note: If you are someone who loves to pray with music, listen to some of these same words from the Last Supper Discourse in the song called “Gethsemane” by RC Collective. You can look it up on YouTube, Spotify, or on whatever music streaming site/app you use.)

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

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Celina Manville

I have been in education for 20+ years, mostly working in Catholic schools serving children with special needs. Ed and I have been married over 26 years and have 3 (now) adult children - Eddie, Tony, & Kateri. Since my mom was from Brazil, and I speak fluent Portuguese, I can understand Spanish fairly well. Currently, we live in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and are parishioners at St. Luke, the Evangelist Catholic Church in Raleigh. I am most grateful to my parents for grounding me in the faith, to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for its amazing formation and education, and to Christ and His Blessed Mother for being at my side.


  1. Radhika Sharda on May 21, 2024 at 9:31 am

    Beautiful reflection. Love your phrase, “the love and longing that is gushing from Jesus’ heart.” And I love that song “Gethsemane” too, so glad you shared it here!

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