{NOTE: From this point forward, sermons will be offered in a notes format, rather than word for word. This is Fr. John’s preferred way to preach. By fall, we hope to have video posts of the sermons.}


May 28, 2017 EASTER 7A

Gospel of John 17:1-11

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. “I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

I recall a scene that took place 10 years ago.  I was visiting my parents on their farm in Missouri.  I had gotten a refreshing sleep in my old bed, in my old room.  I got up to join my parents for breakfast around the kitchen table.  I entered the hallway and caught a glimpse of my parents sitting in their usual spots with their heads bowed in prayer.  Oh, I’d seen the same scene played out countless times before.  But this time, something inside told me, “Pay attention to this moment.”  I watched and listened as Daddy articulated the prayer for both of them.  I heard my him thank God for blessings and ask God to be active in our lives while granting us safety.  He prayed for their children, grandchildren, extended family, their church, those serving in the armed forces, and peace for our world.  I had always been aware of prayer being an important part of my parents’ morning routine.  And, that morning Daddy’s prayer moved me deeply.  It was a clear reminder of my parents’ love for God and how much they value our family.

In John’s Gospel, there is no model for prayer as in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.  Rather, Jesus gives examples of praying by simply allowing his disciples to hear him pray.

Jesus values his followers.  He called his disciples “gifts from God” and “family”.  Jesus prayed for those given to him by his Father.   And, he prays for us today.  And, in our Gospel reading, we hear Jesus praying for us.

Jesus gives thanks for his intimate relationship with his Father – and then continues praying that his disciples will enjoy this same intimacy with God.  He prays that his disciples will be one as he and the Father God are one.  To be one with God is to be connected with God in meaningful, life-transforming relationship.  This is the purpose of Jesus’ life and ministry – to connect people with the One, True God.  Jesus terms the connection with God through Jesus Christ Eternal Life.  This concept has been misunderstood by many people.  Jesus explains that Eternal Life is offer NOW.  It is life resulting from meaningful, deep connection with our loving God – life that permeates existence, allowing God’s joy, compassion and peace to come alive in us.  And, as people living Eternal Life, we are called to bear witness to that life and invite others into it.

We can be grateful to God for many things, among them that Jesus values us as his followers, Jesus prays for us and a connection with God that gives us life beyond mere existence – Eternal Life.

Thanks be to God!