1) OPENING PRAYER
Lord Jesus send your Spirit to help us interpret the scriptures with the same insight with which you interpreted them to the disciples on the way to Emmaus. Through the light of God’s written word, you helped them to discover the presence of God in the overwhelming events of your condemnation and death. Thus, the Cross, which seemed to be the end of all hope, appeared to them as the source of life and resurrection.
Create in us a silence, so that we can listen to your voice in creation, scripture, daily events and in persons especially those who are poor and suffering. May your Word guide us, so that we, like the Disciples of Emmaus, may experience the strength of your resurrection and witness it to others. We ask this of you, Jesus, Son of Mary, who revealed the Father to us and sent us the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2) LECTIO: THE READING
a) A Key to the Reading
This gospel passage concerns all who have come believe in Jesus. Jesus prays that all may be one. The unique model for such a union is the intimate bond which exists between the Father and the Son. The unity among Christians testifies to the world that Jesus is the one sent by the Father.
b) A division of the text to facilitate our reading
Jn 17: 20 – 23: The prayer of Jesus about His own mission.
Jn 17: 24 – 26: The prayer of Jesus that the love of the Father be in the disciples.
c) The Text - John 17:20-26
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: "I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me. And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them."
3) A MOMENT OF SILENT PRAYER
So that the Word of God can penetrate our hearts and enlighten our lives.
4) SOME QUESTIONS
To assist our meditation and prayer.
During the reading of this Gospel passage, what impression of Jesus did you formulate?
Did you experience Jesus’ immense desire for unity and love?
Bishop Don Pedro Casaldáliga once said “the Trinity is truly the best community.” In your community, can you see any sign of the Trinity?
Ecumenism: What does it mean? Am I interested in ecumenism?
Love: What type of love does the world propose? Is it compatible with the love taught by Christ?
5) FOR THOSE WHO WISH TO GO DEEPER INTO THE TEXT
a) The Context
Today’s Gospel gives us the third and last part of the Priestly Prayer, in which Jesus looks toward the future and manifests His great desire for unity among us, His disciples, and that all may remain in the love which unifies, because without love and without unity we do not deserve credibility.
b) A commentary on the text
John 17:20-23: The prayer of Jesus about His own Mission: So that the world may believe it was You who sent Me.
Looking into the horizon, Jesus prays to the Father: “I pray not only for these but also for those who through their teaching will come to believe in Me. May they all be one, just as, Father, You are in Me and I am in You, so that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe it was You who sent Me.” Here, Jesus displaysHis concern for unity which should exist in the communities. Unity does not mean uniformity, but rather to remain in love in spite of tension and conflict. Such love reflects the profound unity which exists between Jesus and the Father. The unity in love revealed in the Trinity is the model for all communities. By loving one another, communities reveal to the world the profound message of Jesus. People said of the first Christians “see how they love one another!” The present day division among Jews, Christians and Moslems, all of whomcame from Abraham, is truly tragic. Even more tragic is the division among us Christians who claim to believe in Jesus. If we are divided, we have no credibility. Ecumenism is at the center of Jesus’ farewell prayer to the Father. It is His testament. To be a Christian and not be ecumenical is a contradiction. We are violating the final wish of Jesus.
John 17:24-26: The prayer of Jesus that the love of the Father be in the disciples: “So that the love with which You loved Me may be in them.”
Jesus does not want to remain alone. He says “Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am so that they may always see My glory, which You have given Me, because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” Jesus is happy when we are all together with Him. He wants His disciples to have the same experience of the Father which He enjoyed. He wants us to know the Father and be known by Him. In the Bible, knowledge of God is not merely rational and theoretical but an experience of the living God who loves His people.
c) Further Information
That they may be one as We are one. (Unity and Trinity in the Gospel of John)
The Gospel of John helps us to understand the mystery of the Trinity, the communion of Father, Son and Spirit. Of the four Gospels, John stresses the profound unity that exists among the Father, Son and Spirit. From the text, we see that the mission of the Son is the supreme manifestation of the love of the Father (Jn 17: 6-8). This unity between the Father and the Son makes Jesus exclaim “the Father and I are one” (Jn 10:30). Between Son and Father, there is such unity that one who sees the face of one sees the face of the other. Fulfilling this mission of unity, Jesus reveals the Spirit. The spirit of Truth comes from the Father (Jn 15:26). At the bidding of the Son (Jn 14:16), the Father sends the Spirit to each one of us in such a way that He will remain with us, encouraging us and giving us strength. The Spirit also comes to us from the Son (Jn 16:7-8). Thus, the Spirit of Truth, who journeys with us, is the communication of the profound unity which exists between the Father and the Son (Jn 15:26-27). The Spirit cannot communicate a truth which is different from the truth of the Son. Everything which is in relationship with the mystery of the Son, the Spirit makes known to us (Jn 16:13-14). This experience of unity in God was very strong in the communities of the Beloved Disciple. The love which unites the Divine Persons allows us to experience God through union with people in a community of love. This was also the experience of the first communities in which love was a sign of God’s presence in their midst (Jn 13:34-35). This love builds unity in the community (Jn 17:21). They looked at the unity in God in order to understand the unity among themselves.
6. PRAYER (Psalm 8)
O Lord our Lord, how majestic is your name throughout the world!
Whoever keeps singing of your majesty higher than the heavens,
Even through the mouths of children, or of babes in arms,
you make him a fortress,
firm against your foes, to subdue the enemy and the rebel.
I look up at your heavens, shaped by your fingers,
at the moon and the stars you set firm.
What are human beings that you spare a thought for them,
or the child of Adam that you care for him?
Yet you have made him little less than a god,
you have crowned him with glory and beauty,
made him lord of the works of your hands,
put all things under his feet,
sheep and cattle, all of them, and even the wild beasts,
birds in the sky, fish in the sea, when he makes his way across the ocean.
Yahweh our Lord,
how majestic your name throughout the world!
7. FINAL PRAYER
Lord Jesus, we thank You for Your word which has helped us better understand the will of the Father. Grant that your Spirit enlightens our actions and gives us the strength to carry out what Your word has made us see. Grant that we, like Mary Your Mother, can, not only listen to, but also put Your Word into practice. You who live and reign together with the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen.