Gospel Reflection for May 16th – The 7th Sunday of Easter By Br Michael Moore OMI
(For a reflection on The Ascension please click here – The Feast of the Ascension is celebrated on Sunday May 16th in Ireland)
Jesus prays for us and sends us into the world
The gospel for today is one in which it seems that Jesus is ‘doing’ nothing. He is not healing anyone or working a miracle. He is not in the temple, synagogue or market place teaching or speaking to the crowds. He may not even be with his disciples; it seems that he is on his own. What he is doing is talking to God – Jesus is praying.
When we pray, we pray to God, Jesus, Mary or one of our personal and favourite saints. In the gospel today Jesus is praying for us! Perhaps we have never thought of that before; that Jesus actually prays for us. Why would he need or want to do this? In this Easter season and having marked the Ascension of Jesus, the gospels are generally about the beginning of the early Christian community and its mission of sharing the good news of the resurrection. Before the Resurrection Jesus proclaimed the Good News, after the Resurrection Jesus is the Good News!
As the men and women who were his closest friends and followers begin to tell others about Jesus and the Kingdom he prays for them because they need all the help and support they can get! He begins his prayer by saying, ‘Lord, keep those you have given to me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.’ This prayer is one which asks God to guide, lead and encourage them so that they may be one. This is a prayer asking for unity and community for the friends and disciples of Jesus. If they are to be fruitful and effective in their mission and ministry, they need stay and work together. They can’t be witnesses to Jesus by working on their own. This prayer is meant for us today too. While we have a personal relationship with God and Jesus, we are also part of the local parish community and the wider and bigger Church; we are part of the Body of Christ. Our mission today is much the same as that of the early church. Today we are called to be active in living our daily lives as followers of Jesus and doing all we can to promote and build God’s kingdom. We can’t do this on our own; we too need God’s and each other’s help, support and encouragement.
While this is a very encouraging gospel, it is also a challenging one. Further on in the gospel Jesus clearly says; ‘I am not asking you to remove them from the world but to protect them… as you sent me into the world, I send them into the world.’ Jesus was sent into the world to proclaim and establish the kingdom God. He sends us into the world to carry on his mission in his name, not our own. Later in John’s gospel Jesus says; ‘As the Father sent me, so now I send you.’ (20.21). This is meant as much for us here today as it was for the disciples of Jesus.
Mark Twain, the great American writer was once asked what he thought about the next world. He replied please, ‘one world at a time!’ Being a follower of Jesus is not about getting into the next world, it’s about living actively as a Christian in this one. In 1975, Pope Paul VI wrote in his letter ‘On Proclaiming the Good News’, ‘For the church proclaiming the gospel means bringing the good news into all areas of human life, and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new.’
This has always been the mission of the church. We each have a part to play in living the gospel in and for the world so that we can transform it, making it new.
|Gospel||John 17:11-19 ©|
Father, keep those you have given me true to your name
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