O God, you have prepared for those who love you such good things as surpass our understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you in all things and above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Acts 1:15-17, 21-22
1st John 5:9-13
John 17: 6-19
Today’s Gospel lesson is a part of Jesus’ prayer in the garden on the night before his crucifixion. Each of the synoptic writers tell of Jesus going off alone to pray while his disciples continued to fall asleep. It is only John who records this prayer of Jesus to his father.
In his prayer Jesus prayed for those he would be leaving behind…those men who had faithfully been with him during those past three years. He prayed for unity as it seemed that he knew that the Church of the future would always be challenged at being of one heart and mind in the spirit.
Jesus talked about bringing glory to his father through his obedience. And, while the cross would prove that the worst that man could do to Jesus, it was nothing in comparison with what God was prepared to do for all mankind.
Jesus said, “I have made your name know to those whom you gave to me.” There is obviously an element of intellectual awareness in knowing God…knowing what God is like. But, there is something that is far more important; to know God in a personal way…to be in an intimate personal relationship with God.
While we may not always be able to successfully describe who or what God is, we know that he is not some nameless, faceless principle. Now in John’s gospel there are times when Jesus may seem to be elusive, cagey and even hard to figure out.
Jesus shows up at a wedding and turns 180 gallons of water into the best of wine. He enters a place of prayer and makes a whip and drives out those who would make his father’s house a den of thieves. He gets into an argument with the church leaders and confuses them badly. He meets a woman at a well and pries into her personal life. Jesus performed a miracle on a crippled man on the sabbath and broke many of the religious laws. He fed a multitude of people with only a handful of bread and fish.
What are we to make of all this? We ask the question, “who are you?” And Jesus replies, “I am the bread of life. I am the vine. I am the door. I am the good shepherd. I am the water that will quench your thirst for ever. And we hear these words and reply, “what?”
Then we arrive at the last few chapters of John’s Gospel and the veil is lifted. Jesus looks into the eyes of his disciples and says, “I and my father are one. If you have seen me, you’ve seen the father.”
The good news for us this morning is that we do have the Holy Spirit in our lives…..a comforter sent to us by Jesus. And he is with us and in us at those times of trials and persecutions. And we too have God’s promise that we will share in Jesus’ glory if we are faithful to God’s will for our lives.
Jesus said, “Holy Father, protect them in your name, so that they may be one, as we are one.” that was Jesus’ prayer and that’s the father’s promise. Two thousand years ago, Jesus prayed not only for his disciples whom he would soon leave behind in order to return to his father, but he also prayed for you and me…”those who were yet to come, who would belief because of the efforts of those early apostles and those who would come after them.
Throughout the ages our God has cared for his children and he continues to still today because God is good…all the time.
An Act of Spiritual Communion
“My Jesus, I believe that you are present in the holy sacrament of your body and blood. I love you above all things and I desire to receive you into my soul. Since I cannot at this time receive you sacramentally, I invite you to come spiritually into my heart. I embrace you as if you were here with me and I unite myself with you fully. Never permit me to be separated from you. Amen
A Prayer for the Church and Benediction:
Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within your holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
May the peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.