Scripture: John 17:1-11 [alternate reading: John 15:9-17]
1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do; 5 and now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made. 6 "I have manifested your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world; they were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you; 8 for I have given them the words which you gave me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours; 10 all mine are yours, and yours 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 you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.
Meditation: In his Last Supper discourse Jesus speaks of his glory and the glory of his Father. What is this glory? It is the cross which Jesus speaks of here. How does the cross reveal his glory? In the cross God reveals the breadth of his great love for sinners and the power of redemption which cancels the debt of sin and reverses the curse of our condemnation. Jesus gave his Father the supreme honor and glory through his obedience and willingness to go to the cross. In times of defense the greatest honor belongs not to those who fought and survived but to those who gave the supreme sacrifice of their own lives for their fellow citizens.
Jesus speaks of the Father bringing glory to the Son through the great mystery of the Incarnation and Cross of Christ. God the Father gave us his only begotten Son for our redemption and deliverance from slavery to sin and death. There is no greater proof of God's love for each and every person on the face of the earth than the Cross of Jesus Christ. In the cross we see a new way of love – a love that is unconditional, sacrificial and generous beyond comprehension.
Jesus also speaks of eternal life. What is eternal life? It is more than simply endless time. Science and medicine today looks for ways to extend the duration of life; but that doesn't necessarily make life better for us here. Eternal life is qualitative more than quantitative. To have eternal life is to have the life of God within us. When we possess eternal life we experience here and now something of God's majesty, his peace, joy and love and the holiness which characterizes the life of God. Jesus also speaks of the knowledge of God. Jesus tells his disciples that they can know the only true God. Knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the knowledge of God as our Father. Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like. In Jesus we see the perfect love of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God – a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly. Do you seek unity of heart, mind and will with God and unity of love and peace with your neighbor?
"If only I possessed the grace, good Jesus, to be utterly at one with you! Amidst all the variety of worldly things around me, Lord, the only thing I crave is unity with you. You are all my soul needs. Unite, dear friend of my heart, this unique little soul of mine to your perfect goodness. You are all mine; when shall I be yours? Lord Jesus, my beloved, be the magnet of my heart; clasp, press, unite me for ever to your sacred heart. You have made me for yourself; make me one with you. Absorb this tiny drop of life into the ocean of goodness whence it came." (Prayer of Francis de Sales, 1567-1622)
10 Your flock found a dwelling in it; in your goodness, O God, you provided
for the needy.
11 The Lord gives the command; great is the host of those who bore the tidings:
19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. [Selah]
20 Our God is a God of salvation; and to God, the Lord, belongs escape from death.