Thursday, June 1, 2017
1) Opening prayer
Father of our Lord Jesus Christ
and Father of all people,
we believe in you
and we know that you loved Jesus
with a deep and trusting, lasting love.
Let your Holy Spirit pour out this love
into the hearts of all those
who believe in Jesus, our Saviour and shepherd.
Let this love unite us in one common bond
of understanding and respect of one another
and let that love dispose us
to live for one another and to serve one another
for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord.
2) Gospel Reading - John 17,20-26
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said: I pray not only for these but also for those who through their teaching will come to believe in me. May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me, that they may be one as we are one. With me in them and you in me, may they be so perfected in unity that the world will recognise that it was you who sent me and that you have loved them as you have loved me.
Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may always see my glory which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Father, Upright One, the world has not known you, but I have known you, and these have known that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them and will continue to make it known, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and so that I may be in them.
• Today’s Gospel presents to us the third and last part of the Priestly Prayer, in which Jesus looks toward the future and manifests his great desire for unity among us, his disciples, and that all may remain in the love which unifies, because without love and without unity we do not deserve credibility.
• John 17, 20-23: So that the world may believe it was you who sent me. Jesus extends the horizon and prays to the Father: I pray not only for these but also for those who through their teaching will come to believe in me. May they all be one, just as, Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me. Behold, here emerges the great concern of Jesus for unity which should exist in the communities. Unity does not mean uniformity, but rather to remain in love, in spite of tensions and conflicts. A love which unifies to the point of creating among all a profound unity, like the unity which exists between Jesus and the Father. The unity in love revealed in the Trinity is the model for the communities. For this, through love among persons, the communities reveal to the world the most profound message of Jesus. People said of the first Christians: “Look how they love one another!” The present day division among the three religions which came from Abraham is really tragic: the Jews, the Christians and the Muslims. And even more tragic is the division among us Christians who say that we believe in Jesus. If we are divided we do not deserve credibility. Ecumenism is in the centre of the last prayer of Jesus to the Father. It is his testament. To be a Christian and not be ecumenical is a contradiction. It means to contradict the last Will of Jesus.
• John 17, 24-26: So that the love with which you loved me may be in them. Jesus does not want to remain alone. He says: Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am so that they may always see my glory which you have given me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Jesus is happy when we are all together with him. He wants his disciples to have the same experience of the Father which he had. He wants us to know the Father and that he knows us. In the Bible, the word to know is not limited to a rational theoretic knowledge, but presupposes the experience of the presence of God living in love with the persons of the community.
• That they may be one as we are one. (Unity and Trinity in the Gospel of John) The Gospel of John helps us to understand the mystery of the Trinity, the communion among the three Divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Spirit. Of the four Gospels, John is the one who stresses more the profound unity among the Father, the Son and the Spirit. From the text of John (Jn 17, 6-8) we see that the mission of the Son is the supreme manifestation of the love of the Father. And this unity between the Father and the Son makes Jesus exclaim: The Father and I are one (Jn 10, 30). Between the Son and the Father there is such an intense unity that one who sees the face of one also sees the face of the other. And fulfilling this mission of unity received from the Father, Jesus reveals the Spirit. The spirit of Truth comes from the Father (Jn 15, 26). At the petition of the Son (Jn 14, 16), the Father sends the Spirit to each one of us in such a way that he will remain with us, encouraging us and giving us strength. The Spirit also comes to us from the Son (Jn 16, 7-8). Thus, the Spirit of Truth, who journeys with us, is the communication of the profound unity which exists between the Father and the Son (Jn 15, 26-27). The Spirit cannot communicate a truth which is different from the Truth of the Son. Everything which is in relationship with the mystery of the Son, the Spirit makes it known to us (Jn 16, 13-14). This experience of the unity in God was very strong in the communities of the Beloved Disciple. The love which unites the Divine Persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit allows us to experience God through union with the persons in a community of love. This was also the proposal of the community, where love should be the sign of God’s presence in the midst of the community (Jn 13, 34-35). And this love constructs unity in the community (Jn 17, 21). They looked at the unity in God in order to understand the unity among them.
4) For Personal Confrontation
• Bishop Don Pedro Casaldáliga said: “The Trinity is truly the best community”. In the community of which you form part, can one perceive some human sign of the Divine Trinity?
• Ecumenism: Am I ecumenical?
5) Concluding Prayer
Lord, you will teach me the path of life,
unbounded joy in your presence,
at your right hand delight for ever. (Ps 16,11)