May 18th, 2021

The Gospel according to John (17:1-11a) 

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

Opening Prayer: Jesus, open my mind and my heart to hear Your voice today.  Help me to seek only to glorify You with my life, so that others may seek You and come to find You.  Teach me to trust Your gentle guidance in walking the way with You.  Amen.

Encountering Christ:

Today’s Gospel has two particular words that give us something to consider as we near the end of our Easter journey: “glorified” and “given”.  Jesus uses both words multiple times in this, His prayer to His Father on the eve of His suffering for us.  What can we take from those two words today?

“Glorified” is a word we have certainly heard before.  We are all supposed to live our lives in such a way that God is glorified by them.  But, how do we “glorify” God, exactly?  God’s glory is beyond our comprehension.  James, John and Peter got to see it on the mountain when Jesus was transfigured, and it was clearly more than any of them could understand even a little.  How do we add to that glory at all by the small things that we could do as human beings?  The answer is that we are not called to “add” to that glory as much as “reflect” it in our lives.  All we have comes from God, and all He is asking us in “glorifying” Him is to reflect some of that glory, so that others may see it.  We live in a world of such darkness and discord.  So much of our world lacks the clear light of God.  Each of us, as His missionaries in our own places, is called to shine some of that light.

How we do that is by loving without strings, without expectations.  We do it because that is what true love does.  Love does not demand repayment – it gives, because that is what it does.  When we love like Jesus, we shine His light a little bit more and while it may not bring “more” glory to God, it most definitely “glorifies” Him to see that light reflected through us.

And that second word I mentioned – “given”.  Jesus mentions how all of those who were “His” were actually given to Him by His Father.  Being “given” in this way suggests two things: first, that the one “giving” had to power to do that, and of course, God has the power to do whatever He wants.  He does not abandon those in His power – no, He gives us to His Son, because His Son is the one who redeems all of us. 

And, the second point about “given” – the one who receives us (Jesus) still has the opportunity to decide to save us or not.  And, no matter what we do, Jesus will never fail to love us and to consider His sacrifice sufficient, even if it was just for each of us individually.  It’s the most selfless kind of love there is.  And, it’s that love that we are called to emulate as best we can.

Now, being a follower of Jesus is not easy, but we have His example to follow, and we have His Holy Spirit to be with us.  Being a light in this world may mean doing those things that draw attention to ourselves, because we are acting for the good of the other, not for our own good as the world says is best.  Maybe we will have a chance to share about our faith, or about what grounds us.  That’s how we can “glorify” our Lord and reflect that light to those who need to see it.

We can do our best to give of ourselves in love, and try to follow the example that God Himself provided, when He offered His own Son for us.  We may not have to fully sacrifice ourselves, but we may have to sacrifice our own will and priority to show care for someone else.  And, that is a way that we can also be a gift to those around us. 

We don’t have to do it perfectly.  But, we are called to try, and when we fall short, we are asked to try again.  Let us love others with that light that comes only from Jesus, and share the greatest gift there is – the knowledge that others, like ourselves, are children of the King, and that the God who loves us eternally will never forsake or leave us.

Closing Prayer: Father, thank You for loving me and for sharing Your glory with me.  May my life today reflect some of that glory and love to those in my life who need it the most.  Help me never to forget that Your Holy Spirit is with me and will guide me today and always.  Amen.

Action for the Day: Ask God to show you the one person who you most need to reach out to today, and then offer a prayer for that person’s needs, and for that person to feel God’s love in a special way today.  Oh, and don’t forget to actually try to reach out to that person and let him/her know that they are loved by God.

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