Our Lord came to gather, so who’s scattering?
The high priest Caiaphas solved the problem of Jesus: “You do not understand that it is expedient for you that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation should not perish” (John 11:50). Saint John the Evangelist “designates this statement expressly as a ‘prophetic utterance’ that Caiaphas formulated through the charism of his office as high priest, and not of his own accord.” Benedict XVI, Pope. Jesus of Nazareth Part Two, Holy Week: From the Entrance Into Jerusalem To The Resurrection (p. 171). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition. Frighteningly, even as his proclamation amounted to an unjust death sentence for an innocent man, the high priest spoke truly and prophetically; without any idea of the depth of his words concerning the God-Man. The Apostle “goes on to say that Jesus would die, ‘not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad” (John 11:52; Jesus of Nazareth Part Two, at 174). These words will echo six chapters later in Our Lord’s high-priestly prayer (see John 17; Id.).
Jesus died to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad. “The gathering is directed toward the unity of all believers, and thus it points ahead to the community of the Church and even beyond, toward definitive eschatological unity.” Jesus of Nazareth Part Two, at 174.
The atomization of Christianity since 1517 continues to gash the Body of Christ. Luther was not enough; then came Calvin, then Zwingli, et al. Old, mainline denominations were not enough. Recognizable Protestant congregations were not enough. Each splinter of a splinter of a splinter continues to tear the Flesh. Five hundred years of evidence later, if you can’t find a flavor that suits you among tens of thousands of choices, don’t despair; a new non-denominational storefront with hipster name and flashy website awaits. A brand new splinter, and a little more Blood.
Serious question: If Jesus died to unify, what’s behind the division?