Contemplating the sacred relationship between the Father and the Son…
Reflections on the readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter (May 16, 2021): ACTS 1:15-17,20-26; PS 103:1-2,11-12,19-20; 1 JN 4:11-16; JN 17:11-19
MISSIO offers “Preaching Mission,” as a homily help, providing connections to mission from the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
"Then they gave lots to them, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was counted with the eleven apostles." (Acts 1:26)
On this Sunday between Ascension Thursday and Pentecost, we hear what has come to be called the high priestly prayer of Jesus from the Gospel according to St. John. This is the longest prayer offered by Christ in the Gospels. It expresses our Lord’s desire for His disciples to understand His intimate union with the Father and, in turn, their unity with Him. Christ wants those who are close to Him to better appreciate this sacred relationship that He and our Eternal Father share actually means to them and to all who will follow as His disciples. “Lifting up His eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: ‘Holy Father, keep them in Your name that you have given Me, so that they may be one just as We are one.… I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world’” (John 17:1, 11, 15-16). When Jesus speaks about not belonging to the world, He wants His disciples to realize that the Kingdom of God is far more than we human beings can ever completely grasp on while we live on God’s Good Earth. We will only completely understand on the other side of time. However, that does not mean that we are incapable of drawing closer to Our Lord and being more truly conformed to His mind and heart.
In this prayer, Jesus addresses the main themes that we also find in the Our Father: honor for the name of the Father, the need for cooperating with the will of the Father, as well as the importance for the Kingdom. The vital idea of delivering us away from evil and toward salvation is also raised. If we emulate Jesus in doing what He asks of us just as He did the will of the Father, our lives will take on a completely new meaning. We will understand that we are far more than bodies and minds and feelings. Our souls are the essential element of our being both now and, ultimately, in eternity. Our true and ultimate home is heaven, not earth.