Tuesday, May 30, 2017
1) Opening prayer
Lord our God,
your Son Jesus Christ
carried out the mission you had given him,
without fear and in all faithfulness to you.
God, give us a bit
of his sense of mission.
Give us the strength of the Spirit
to speak your word as it is,
bold and demanding,
without compromising or giving in
to the changing moods and fashions of the day.
And may our lives be like an open book
in which people can read your word.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 17,1-11a
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said: Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you; so that, just as you have given him power over all humanity, he may give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him. And eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. Now, Father, glorify me with that glory I had with you before ever the world existed. I have revealed your name to those whom you took from the world to give me. They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now at last they have recognised that all you have given me comes from you for I have given them the teaching you gave to me, and they have indeed accepted it and know for certain that I came from you, and have believed that it was you who sent me.
It is for them that I pray. I am not praying for the world but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All I have is yours and all you have is mine, and in them I am glorified. I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.
• In today’s Gospel, in that of tomorrow and of day after tomorrow, we will meditate on the words that Jesus addressed to the Father at the moment of his farewell, when leaving. John keeps these words and puts them in Jesus’ mouth during his last encounter with the disciples. It is the Testament of Jesus in the form of a prayer, also called the Priestly Prayer (Jn 17, 1-26).
• Chapter 17 of the Gospel of John is the end of a long reflection of Jesus, begun in chapter 15, on the mission in the world. The communities preserved these reflections in order to be able to understand better the difficult moment that they were going through: tribulations, abandonment, doubts, and persecution. The long reflection ends with the prayer of Jesus for the communities. In it are expressed the sentiments and concerns which, according to the Evangelist, indwelled Jesus at that moment in which he was going out, leaving this world and going toward the Father. With these sentiments and with this concern Jesus now finds himself before his Father, interceding for us. Because of this the Priestly Prayer is also the Testament of Jesus. Many persons, in the moment when they leave forever, leave some message. Everyone keeps the important words of a father and of the mother, especially when they are the last moments of life. To keep these words is like keeping the persons. It is a form of respect and of affection.
• Chapter 17 is a diverse text. It is a friendlier one rather than one of reasoning. In order to grasp well the whole sense, it is not sufficient to reflect with the head, with reason. This text has to be meditated upon and accepted also in the heart. It is a text not so much to be discussed, but to meditate on and to reflect. Therefore, do not be worried if you do not understand it immediately. This text demands a whole life to meditate it and to deepen it. Such a text should be read, meditated on, thought, read again, repeated, savoured, as one does with a good sweet in the mouth. One turns it and turns it in the mouth until it is finished. For this, close the eyes, keep silence within you and listen to Jesus who speaks to you, transmitting in his Testament his greatest concern, his last will. Try to discover which is the point on which Jesus insists the most and, which he considers the most important.
• John 17, 1-3: “Father, the hour has come!” It is the long awaited hour (Jn 2, 4; 7,30; 8, 20; 12, 23.27; 13, 1; 16, 32). It is the moment of the glorification which will take place through the Passion, Death and Resurrection. In reaching the end of his mission, Jesus looks back and proceeds to a revision. In this prayer, he expresses the most intimate sentiment of his heart and the profound discovery of his soul: the presence of the Father in his life.
• John 17, 4-8: Father, they will recognize that I come from you! In reviewing his own life Jesus sees himself as a manifestation of the Father for the friends whom the Father has given him. Jesus does not live for himself. He lives in order that all may have a flash of goodness and of love which are enclosed in the Name of God which is Abba, Father.
• John 17, 9-11a: All I have is yours and all you have is mine! At the moment of leaving the world, Jesus expresses to the Father his concern and prays for the friends whom he leaves behind; and that they will continue in the world, but they are not of the world. They are of Jesus, they are God’s, and they are signs of God and of Jesus in this world. Jesus is concerned about the persons who remain, and he prays for them.
4) For Personal Confrontation
• Which are the words which orientate your life and which are from persons whom you love? If you were about to die which would be the message that you would like to leave to your family and to your community?
• Which is the word of the Testament of Jesus which struck you the most? Why?
5) Concluding Prayer
Blessed be the Lord day after day,
he carries us along, God our Saviour.
This God of ours is a God who saves;
from Lord Yahweh comes escape from death. (Ps 68,19-20)