Afterfeast of the Ascension
The Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council
Acts 20:16-18, 28-36 * John 17:1-13
Of course, Christ does not mean that they should become literally one person. He means that they should imitate the Father and the Son by acquiring unanimity of thought and will among themselves. Because the disciples would have found it impossible to believe Him if He had said, Even though I am no longer with you, I will still protect you, Jesus reassures them by calling upon the Father to be their protector. By appearing to entreat the Father on their behalf, He gives them hope. In the same vein, when Christ says, I kept them in Thy name, He does not mean that He kept them safe only by the power of the Father’s name. He speaks in this manner—as we have explained many times—on account of the weakness of His listeners, who as yet could not grasp that He was God. By doing so, the Lord strengthens and reassures them:While I was with you, you were protected and guarded by the power of the Father’s name. Now you must believe that He will continue to guard you, for it is His nature to do so.
Blessed Theophylact, Archbishop of Ochrid and Bulgaria, commentary of today's Gospel