24th May 2020
Year A – Psalter week 3
Today’s gospel is the beginning of what is known as the high priestly prayer of Jesus (see the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 2746 to 2751). This prayer extends throughout chapter 17 of John’s gospel, with Jesus offering his approaching suffering and death to his heavenly Father, pleading for the protection of his disciples, and praying for the unity of the Church.
Jesus prays, “Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son so that your Son may glorify you; and, through the power over all mankind that you have given him, let him give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him”. The Greek verb to glorify, doxazo, means “to praise”, “to honour”, or “to give glory”. In the scriptures, the glory of God is sometimes described as being the “weight” or “magnificence” of his Being. St. Paul, for example, explains to the Christians at Corinth that they are being prepared for “an eternal weight of glory beyond all measure” (2 Corinthians 4:17).
A constant theme in John’s gospel is how Jesus, the Word of God and the eternal Son, possesses the same divine glory as his heavenly Father. The gospel begins: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a Father’s only son, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14). This means that Jesus, who is an eternal divine person and equal in being with the Father, became a human being and lived as a man on this earth. John the Evangelist shows how this divine glory that Jesus possesses shines through his miracles, and especially through his loving embrace of the cross as the sacrifice to restore mankind to God’s friendship.
Jesus’ prayer that the Father glorify him, is answered when, as St. Paul puts it in his letter to the Ephesians, “God… raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the age to come” (Ephesians 1:20-21). The Letter to the Hebrews puts it this way: “He is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs” (Hebrews 1:3-4).
In his priestly prayer, Jesus asks his heavenly Father that he return not only to the eternal glory that he possesses in his divinity, but also that his humanity be glorified in the same way. This prayer is answered so fully, that Jesus who is true God but also true man, is now seated even higher than the angels in heaven, and we as his Mystical Body, are called to dwell where he dwells. So, whereas before no one could see the face of God and live, now human beings are called to dwell face to face in God’s presence for all eternity in heaven.
While our bodies cannot dwell in such a way with God until after our own death and resurrection, where we will, God willing, have glorified bodies like Jesus, we can nevertheless begin to dwell with God even now in spirit. When Jesus, in his priestly prayer, asks the Father to let him “give eternal life to all those you have entrusted to him,” the answer comes partly at Pentecost, when the ascended Jesus pours out the Holy Spirit upon the church. The church on earth, then, shares in the Spirit of God, and it is by receiving and allowing the Holy Spirit to rest upon us and dwell within us, that we gradually grow more accustomed, even in this life, to the weight of God’s glory!
Let us then continue, throughout the coming week, to ask for a fresh outpouring of God’s Spirit upon us as we move towards the feast of Pentecost next Sunday.
God bless, Fr Andy
I am sure I shall see the Lord’s goodness in the land of the living.
1 Peter 4:13-16
It is a blessing for you when they insult you for bearing the name of Christ
Sunday Message and Look
Download this weeks Sunday Message and Look (for our younger parishioners) by clicking on the images, for all the readings for this week, as well as the prayers during mass and the usual weekly thoughts and reflections.
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord; I will come back to you, and your hearts will be full of joy.