‘Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be one as we are one’ (Jn. 17:2-3). ⧾
Our Gospel text today is taken from the high priestly prayer that Our Lord offered at the Last Supper. This prayer is recorded for us by the Apostle John. We do well to return to this text in its entirety as we prepare to celebrate the great Feast of Pentecost next Sunday. Our Lord’s Prayer expresses not only the unity of the Trinity but also our share in the life of the Trinity as partakers of the divine nature. ‘Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be one as we are one’. Our evident union with the Father and the Son in the communion of the Holy Spirit is what is needed so that the world may believe in Our Lord’s Redemptive Incarnation. This places a great obligation on us who bear the name of Christian. We must cling to Christ and no less to the Church that He divinely established.
‘I have given them the glory you gave me, that they may be one as we are one’. We know that Sacred Scripture uses the word glory when it speaks of God’s inner life; so we who have received the gift of grace share in this very glory. The understanding of this reality consequently caused the Apostles, especially in their preaching and teaching to exhort the first Christians and all Christians in every age to live a life worthy of the calling that [we] have received (Eph. 4:1). St. Paul exhorted the Christians at Ephesus with these words: I declare and solemnly attest in the Lord that you must no longer live as the pagans do –their minds empty, their understanding darkened. They are estranged from a life in God because of their ignorance and their resistance; without remorse they have abandoned themselves to lust and indulgence of every sort of lewd conduct (Eph. 4:17-19). This is more than an apt appraisal of the ‘festivities’ and observances that will take place in the coming month of June.
Nothing is more important for us than to keep ourselves unspotted from the world (Jam, 1:27). This of course, is easier said than done; but nevertheless,+ we must flee youthful lusts … and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace (2 Tim. 2:22). We cannot do this without the gift of grace; and we are heartened and strengthened by one another’s witness and common effort to live a life worthy of the calling that we have received. In today’s Gospel reading, Our Lord speaks of the reality of our union with Him as a mutual indwelling (perichoresis). These words are not meant to be understood metaphorically or symbolically. They express the reality of our life in Christ through sacramental grace; and especially the union that is brought about or effected the through the Blessed Eucharist or what we logically call Holy Communion.
Many of you have begun your novena for the Feast of Pentecost. Our prayer as we await the outpouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit logically embraces the Church and the world in the here and now with all our challenges, infidelities, betrayals and threats of violence. If God be for us, who can be against us? (Rom. 8:31). The answer is at once everyone and no one for God is at work in [us] both to will and to work for his good pleasure (Phil. 2:13). Let us then be united in the profession of the true faith and let us encourage one another and build each other up, as indeed we are doing and have been doing (Cf. 1 Thes. 5:11). ⧾