7th Sunday in Easter Ascension

[Gospel]

John 17:1-11

1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee,
2 since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him.
3 And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.
4 I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do;
5 and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made.
6 "I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word.
7 Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee;
8 for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me.
9 I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine;
10 all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them.
11 And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

[One Main Point]

Unity in the love of God.

The central theme of Jesus' prayer in these verses is unity - the unity of present and future disciples, modeled on the intimate relationship of the Father and the Son. The union takes root from the love of the Father and Son, a gift to all disciples. Jesus speaks of the Father in one word "love," the Father's love for Jesus and the Father's love for the disciples. Love is the ultimate revelation of the Gospel. The church is meant to be a community of love, the living sign or the sacrament of the mutual love of the Father and Son.

[Interesting Details]

The opening words "when Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven" (v.1) link the message of unity to the rest of the discourse. Similar to the multiplication of the loaves, Jesus lifts up his eyes to heaven, seeking the source of his glory.

Jesus' prayer discloses that the nerve-center of his life is a communion and intimacy with his Father. Here, Jesus is aware of being loved by his Father. From that, prayer can be defined as a relationship, a discovery of central focus in life, a loving for intimacy and for communion with God.

Eternal life can be understood as knowing God and knowing Jesus Christ:

In Greek, eternal means quality. Eternal life is, therefore, nothing other than the life of God.
Old Testament regularly uses "know" to refer to the intimate relationship between husband and wife (Genesis 4:1). It is used here (v.7) to emphasize the oneness between God the Father and Jesus Christ.

"World" is mentioned many times. It is the world of anti-world, the center of disbelief, hatred and unloved, the contrast and contradiction to what Christian living should be.

In Old Testament, "name" is used in a very special way. It does not mean simply the name by which a person is called, tt means the whole character and nature of the person. So, when Jesus says "I have shown forth your name" (v.6), he is saying "I have enable men to see what the mind, the character, the heart of God, or what the real nature of God is."

The frequent recurrence of "Father" in Jesus' prayer recalls the way Jesus taught his disciples how to pray by starting with "Our Father" (Mt 6:9). Jesus' Father is also our Father.

"All that I have is yours, and all that you have is mine" (v.10), the first part of the sentence is natural and easy to understand, for all things belong to God; but the second part is an astonishing claim: Jesus proclaimed his oneness with God.

[Reflections]

Jesus had confidence in his disciples when he said "In them I am glorified" (v.10). Have you experienced that Jesus also says that to you? Did you glorify him, do you glorify him and are you glorifying him?Jesus came to the world from God and he returned to God in glory after his death and resurrection. The Cross is a proof of the victory of goodness over evil, for after the Cross is the resurrection. The Cross is then the gateway to glory. Contemplate the cross in your life, and how it would glorify the name of God?Jesus glorified the Father by choosing the Cross. The Cross is the proof of Jesus' perfect obedience to the Father. Do you think that now, it is our mission to glorify God by following Jesus' perfect obedience?Jesus voiced his two concerns: his Father's glorification, and the welfare of his disciples and all believers. The fist concern was well fulfilled. The second one is still in progress. Do you understand that Jesus is always concerned for your well-being?

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