Sixth Sunday (John 14:23-29)
The theme of ‘love’ emerges again, not the love of one disciple for another, but the disciple’s love for Jesus. Love for Jesus brings down the love of the Father. This love is shown by ‘keeping the word’ of Jesus and keeping the word of Jesus is keeping the word of the Father who sent him. Jesus draws us into an intimacy with the Father. What was stated in the very first chapter of the gospel is explained, that the only-begotten Son has made the unseen God known.
Fidelity to the word of Christ is not easy. Aware that the disciples will need assistance to recall and practise his word, Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit ‘will teach you everything and remind you of all I have said’. To live as Christians requires this remembering of all that Jesus said and did, but also openness to the new insights provided by the Spirit, who is constantly active In the Church. The Spirit is given the name ‘Advocate’, in Greek parakletos, which means one who is ‘called alongside’, one who is called to assist. John alone uses this term for the action of the Spirit.
The final verses speak of ‘peace’, the peace that the world cannot give. The departure of Jesus to the Father ‘who is greater than I’ should not undermine the peace of the disciples, for they already know the Father’s closeness through Jesus.
What does it mean to keep the word of Christ?
How do we know the closeness of the Father?
We pray for those who preach Christ’s word.
We pray that we may be receptive to the work of the Spirit, called to assist us by Jesus..
Seventh Sunday (John 17:20-26)
On this Sunday before Pentecost we complete our readings from the words of Jesus in John’s gospel set in the context of the Last Supper, on the night before Jesus died. This is the final section of a prayer Jesus directs to the Father. He raises his eyes to heaven and prays to the father for unity.
Jesus prays not only for those who have followed him up to this point. He prays too for the people to whom they will bring the gospel message. Our awareness of the history of the early Church confirms that from the very start there were divisions and differences in attitudes which could be very strongly held.
Jesus prays for a pervasive unity among the disciples, that all may be one in a unity which reflects the relationship of Jesus with the Father, and the Trinitarian nature of God which is gradually being understood by the early Christians. Through this unity others will come to believe.
Jesus speaks of the glory given him by the Father which he in turn makes known to believers. Jesus has made the name of God, another word pointing to God’s very essence, known to the disciples, so that they should be one in love. The ultimate gift of the Risen Jesus is love.
How can these final words of Christ’s prayer inspire our daily lives?
What can we do to protect the unity of those who believe and to avoid division and discord?
We pray that we may be faithful to the truth we have come to know from Jesus.
We pray that generous love may always be a feature of Christian life.