Seventh Sunday of Easter
Acts 1:15-17, 20a, 20c-26, Psalm 103:1-2, 11-12, 19-20, 1 John 4:11-16, & John 17:11b-19
The Gospel narrative from Saint John comes at the conclusion of Jesus' farewell discourse delivered to the disciples at the Last Supper. The entire chapter is a prayer by Jesus, commending Himself to the Father and expressing His care and concern for His disciples. At the end of the prayer, Jesus and His disciples depart for the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus is arrested. Several essential themes appear in Jesus' prayer.
First, Jesus' prayer reaffirms the complete union between Himself and the Father. Throughout John's Gospel, Jesus is presented as the One who preexisted with the Father and as the One sent by the Father to do His work on earth.
Second, it reminds us that Christ is the source of Christian unity. Through Jesus, we are united with one another and with God, Our Father, in heaven.
Third, our Lord describes part of His mission in the language of protection. He has guarded all those who have been given to Him by the Father.
Finally, in this chapter, we witness the distinction found in John's Gospel between the world and the disciples. The disciples are in the world, but they do not belong to the world. Yet, like Jesus, they are sent into the world for the world's salvation. As Jesus' teaching ministry was a source of discomfort for some, He knew that the world might not accept His disciples with open arms. Again, we hear echoes of John's theme that salvation is worked out through the battle between light and darkness. We learn, too, that the light will never be overcome by the darkness.
Sisters and brothers, reading this "prayer" of Jesus during the Easter Season, through the lens of His Resurrection, we know that the light of Christ has overcome the darkness of sin and death in our world. In the opening line of the prayer, we hear Jesus pray that His disciples will be kept in the name that He was given by God. We know that salvation is given to us in the name of Jesus and that in His name, "God Saves" announces His mission on our behalf.
Question of the Day: How will you allow Jesus to remain in you as you become the light in the darkness of the world?
Prayer: "Father, I pray that they may be one as we also are one. (John 17:22)