7th Sunday of Easter.B

It was during the Passover meal that he instituted the Holy Eucharist, he washed the feet of the Apostles, and finally He began to prepare the disciples for his departure.  He foretells his betrayal, gives them the great commandment of love and foretells Peter’s denial.  He then tells them that he is going to the Father’s house where he will prepare a place for them and that he will come again to take them with him.  He promises them the gift of the Holy Spirit and assures them that the Holy Spirit will teach them everything.  He warns of the world’s hatred and explains that the Spirit cannot come unless Jesus goes.  Finally, he promises them joy and peace.  Jesus then prays his “High Priestly Prayer,” of which our Gospel lesson is part.

The prayer of Jesus distinguishes three parts: 1) Jesus Prays for His Glorification (17:1-8).  2). Jesus Prays for the Faith Community (17:9-23).  3). Jesus Prays for the Eschatological Union of Father, Son, and Believers (17:24-26).  The main elements of the prayer are a) the founding of the community (17:6-8), b) the petition for the preservation and sanctification of the community (17:9-19), c) the petition for the oneness of the community (17:20-23), and d) the petition for the perfecting of the believers (17:24-26).

Jesus’ relationship: This prayer tells us something about Jesus’ relationship with his disciples.  (i) The disciples are chosen by Him, but given to Jesus by God.  It is the Holy Spirit, God, Who prompts us to become Jesus’ disciples.   (ii) Through the disciples, glory has come to Jesus because the men whom Jesus has redeemed bring honor to him.  (iii) A disciple is a man who is commissioned to a task.  As the Father has sent Jesus to redeem the world, Jesus sends out his disciples into the world, to continue the reconciliation of everyone to God. He prays for his men in order that they may be effective to win the world for him.

Jesus’ warning and promise:Further, this passage tells us that Jesus offered his men two things.  (i) He offered them a warning.  He told them that they were different from the world, and that they could not expect anything but hatred from it because their values and standards were different from those of the world.  ii) He offered them his joy.  All Jesus was saying to them was designed to bring them joy.  It is by facing the hostility of the world that they will enter into the Christian joy.

Jesus’ prayer for his disciples:Jesus prayed for the victory, unity, protection and consecration of his disciples.  (i) Jesus prayed that they might find victory by living out their Christianityin the rough-and-tumble of life. Of course, there is a need for prayer, meditation and quiet times for this equipping process.  The disciples must win the world for Christ by living out their Christianity within the world. They must bear witness to Christ through their transparent Christian lives, reflecting Christ’s love, mercy, forgiveness and spirit of humble service.  (ii) Jesus prayed for the unity of his disciples. The world cannot be evangelized by competing Churches, and that is why Jesus prayed that his disciples might be as fully one as he and the Father are one. But Christian unity is not determined by whether we agree with each other about every interpretation of Scripture or doctrine or form of Church government. Rather, Christian unity is determined by whether and how well we love one another, and whether we reflect the love of God in Christ for the world.(Eph­esians 4:4–6:one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call; one Lord, one faith, one baptism;e6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all).(iii) Jesus prayed for His Father’s protection for his disciples from the attacks of the Evil One. If the Disciples of Christ fall, it is because they try to meet life on their own strength and do not remember the presence of their protecting God and seek His help.  (iv). Jesus prayed that his disciples might be consecrated by the truth. (a) ‘Consecrate’ means to set apart for a special task (Jer. 1:5; Ex 28:41).  (b) It also means to equip a man with the qualities of mind, heart and character, which are necessary for that task.  God has chosen us and dedicated us for His special service of loving and obeying Him and bringing others to do the same.  He has not left us to carry out that great task with only our own strength, but by his grace He fits us for our task, if we place our lives in His hands.

The first letter of Johnwas addressed to the early Christian community beset with many problems.  Some members were advocating false doctrines.  Some of them refused to accept the full Divinity and full humanity of Jesus.  Others disregarded the commandment of love of neighbor.  Still others   denied the redemptive value of Jesus’ death and refused to accept Faith in Christ as the source of sanctification. These errors are here recognized and rejected. The letter is reaffirmation that God loves usand it isGod who first loved us.  God doesn’t love us because weare good.  God loves us because Heis good.  So what should we do?  Love one another. How are we to love each other? We show our love for God by loving one another in action.  What happens when we love one another?  God remains in us.  How do we know God remains in us?  He has given us the Spirit so we can experience His presence within us.  What happens to those who acknowledge Jesus as Son of God?  They remain in God and God remains in them.  Who is God?  God is Love.  What happens to those who remain in Love?  God remains in them and they remain in God.