In order to select a replacement for Judas, the disciples invoked the Holy Spirit. Like their master, they did nothing without reference to the Father, the source and origin of all good things. Guided by the Holy Spirit they were able to choose Mathias as Judas’ replacement. Mathias was chosen because he had previously been a witness to Christ’s resurrection. Once again, we encounter that word which is central to the definition of any Christian, “a witness”. It is the kind of witnessing that calls for not just our words but our acts of love, as Saint John reminds us in today’s second reading. Jesus is the truest expression of a true and authentic love of God. In today’s gospel, in what has been known as the high priestly prayer of Christ, Jesus commends His disciples to the love of the Father, as he prayed that they may be one. First, as a faithful steward and witness, He takes pride in the great accomplishments of His mission. Second, He acknowledges the Father’s providence and dominion over all things, noting that His disciples truly belonged to and were gifts to Him from the Father. A gift is always something of immense value, often given out of love, from one to another. Jesus’ statement is a manifestation of the great value He places on His disciples, or anyone who acts like one, witnessing to the love of God. Also, His demonstration of His humility and loyalty to the Father here is amazing. He does nothing without giving the glory back to God the Father, and neither should we. In this prayer, Jesus pours out His heart to the Father on behalf of His disciples so that they may be united by a common purpose, witnessing to the good news. Unity is always a solid ground for meaningful accomplishments. Our world today is divided into so many different factions, and it always seems as though there is some war going on between one group and another. Political party affiliations, races, ethnicities, religions, and gender are among those sources of division. It’s time to unite as one large human family under a common purpose. It is time to forsake our divisive attitudes and to once again embrace the defining characteristics of these United States: One nation, under God. Indivisible with liberty and justice for all. Amen.