The Gospel according to John (17:20-26)
Lifting up his eyes to Heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”
As a child we strive to find our own identity. Ironically it is largely based on belonging to a group that is more widely accepted and recognized. And, sadly, we never really grow up out of this. As a young boy I longed to be an athlete so I could be part of a group that attracted admiration, prestige, and girls. This became a reality but only satisfied my desire to “belong” temporarily. Then it became about money, hobbies, climbing the economic ladder. Eventually I found my way back to church but even there the need for belonging sometimes was filled with doing things that produced results but not always connection.
Today’s gospel provides us with the impassioned plea of Jesus to His Father on our behalf. He knows where his journey is about to take him, and He is concerned for his friends. He wants us to belong not to something but to someone. And this connection is only possible because, in obedience, He gave up everything in order to become a bridge between us and the Father. This becomes mind blowing when we consider how Jesus was not only opposed but rejected and was about to experience unspeakable suffering and a cruel and humiliating death. Yet, here He is asking God to include us in the most sacred relationship between Father and Son. He wants us to have it all.
Who does this? Jesus did and asks us to do the same. If we accept the love that is shared by Father and Son, receive the love of Jesus, follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit then what may look like failure is the continuation of Jesus’ mission on earth. Just like dying on the cross seemed like the end of a pointless endeavor our efforts may often feel ineffective. But God raised Jesus from the dead and our participation in the gift of His love is never a losing proposition. There is suffering, violence, cruelty, death all around us. If we lose our focus, we can quickly fill with despair. It is with eyes and hearts filled with faith and trust that we can see past the darkness to the love that conquers all, even death.
We are not children of the dark. Jesus made sure of that. We are children of the light. A light so bright that even in the darkest time or place we can rise up. And as we say in Cursillo, with one hand holding on to Christ and the other holding my brothers and sisters.
Action of the Day:
In a moment of awareness lift up your eyes to Heaven and thank God for sending His Son. Allow that gratitude or whatever you experience to lead you to share what is in your heart with the one who made it possible to have it all. Let this moment in prayer, awareness continue your ongoing transformation. Don’t worry about doing, this will follow being. Bask in the love of God in Christ Jesus made manifest in the Holy Spirit. Amen.