Wednesday, May 20, 2015
1) OPENING PRAYER
Lord our God,
your Son Jesus gave himself totally
to those he loved – that is, to all.
Give us a bit of his unselfish love
that we too may learn from experience
that there is more joy in giving ourselves
than in receiving honours or favours.
May the Spirit make us also so much one
that we graciously share with one another
our God-given riches and gifts as persons.
We ask you this through Christ our Lord.
2) GOSPEL READING – JOHN 17,11B-19
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said: Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.
While I was with them, I kept those you had given me true to your name. I have watched over them and not one is lost except one who was destined to be lost, and this was to fulfil the scriptures. But now I am coming to you and I say these things in the world to share my joy with them to the full. I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world.
I am not asking you to remove them from the world, but to protect them from the Evil One. They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. Consecrate them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.
• We are now in the Novena of Pentecost, waiting for the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus says that the gift of the Holy Spirit is given only to those who ask for it in prayer (Lk 11, 13). In the Cenacle, during nine days, from the Ascension to Pentecost, the Apostles persevered in prayer together with Mary, the Mother of Jesus (Ac 1, 14). This is why they obtained the abundance of the gift of the Holy Spirit (Ac 2, 4). Today’s Gospel continues to place before us the Priestly Prayer of Jesus. It is a very, very opportune text to prepare ourselves during these days to the coming of the Holy Spirit in our life.
• John 17, 11b-12: Keep them in your name! Jesus transforms his concern into prayer: “Keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us!” Everything which Jesus does in his life, he does it in the Name of God. Jesus is the manifestation of the Name of God. The Name of God is Yahweh, JHWH. In the time of Jesus, this name was pronounced saying Adonai, Kyrios, Lord. In the discourse of Pentecost, Peter says that Jesus because of his Resurrection was constituted Lord: “For this reason the whole House of Israel can be certain that the Lord and Christ whom God has made is this Jesus whom you crucified”. (Ac 2, 36). And Paul says that this has been done so that “every tongue should acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord to the glory of God, the Father” (Ph 2, 11). It is the Name which is above all other names” (Ph 2, 9). JHWH or Yahweh, the Name of God, received a concrete face in Jesus of Nazareth! Unity has to be constituted around this name: Keep those you have given me true to your name so that they may be one like us. Jesus wants the unity of the communities, in such a way that they can resist before the world which hates them and persecutes them. The people united around the Name of Jesus will never be conquered!
• John 17, 13-16: That they may share my joy to the full. Jesus is bidding farewell. In a short time he will go away. The disciples continue in the world, they will be persecuted, they will be afflicted. Because of this, they are sad. Jesus wants that their joy may be full. They want to continue to be in the world without being of or belonging to the world. This means, concretely, to live in the system of the Empire, whether liberal or Roman, without allowing themselves to be contaminated. Like Jesus and with Jesus they should live in the contrary direction of the world.
• John 17, 17-19: As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. Jesus asks that they be consecrated in truth. That is, that they may be capable to dedicate their whole life giving witness of their convictions concerning Jesus and God the Father. Jesus sanctified himself in the measure in which, during his life, he revealed the Father. He asks that the disciples enter into the same process of sanctification. Their mission is the same mission of Jesus. They sanctify themselves in the measure in which, living in love, they reveal Jesus and the Father. To sanctify oneself means to become human like Jesus. Pope Leo the Great said: “Jesus was so human, but so human, as only God can be human”. For this reason we should live contrary to the world, because the system of the world dehumanizes human life and renders it contrary to the intentions of the Creator.
4) FOR PERSONAL CONFRONTATION
• Jesus lived in the world, but was not of the world. He lived contrary to the system, and because of this, he was persecuted and was condemned to death. And I? Do I live contrary to today’s system, or do I adapt my faith to the system?
• Preparation for Pentecost. To invoke the gift of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit who gave courage to Jesus. In this Novena of preparation to Pentecost, it is good to dedicate some time to ask for the gift of the Spirit of Jesus.
5) CONCLUDING PRAYER
I bless Yahweh who is my counsellor,
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep Yahweh before me always,
for with him at my right hand, nothing can shake me.