“Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying:
Tags: a reflection on the coming Sunday's Gospel, catholic RENEW program, Christ, Christian, disciples, farewell discourse, God, God the father, Good News, Gospel, Gospel according to John, Jesus, Jesus Christ, last lecture, prayer, Reflections on the coming Sunday's Gospel, renew catholic program, RENEW International, RENEW prayers, Scripture, Sunday Gospel, Word of God
‘Holy Father, I pray not only for them, 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’ ” (John 17:20-23).
Perhaps you’ve heard of a “Last Lecture Series” wherein noted experts in their fields share the wisdom they would impart to the world if they knew it was their last chance. Maybe you’ve seen the last lecture of Carnegie Mellon professor, Dr. Randy Pausch. Because he was dying of cancer, Dr. Pausch’s last lecture was not an imagined premise but truly one of his last chances to pass on his wisdom. It is an inspiring testament.
This gospel passage is known as Jesus’ farewell discourse, the last time he addressed his disciples before he was arrested and crucified. Here he expresses his deepest prayers for himself, his disciples, and for those who will come to believe in him.
Jesus prays explicitly that our participation in the divine life be realized in a life of love and unity. Several times he prays that his followers may be one, just as he and the Father are one. We are to share in the oneness of God by being one with each other and by recognizing our unity in Christ.
Hearing this account of Jesus’ “last lecture” is a good opportunity to assess those places in our lives that do not reflect the divine life within us and that draw us away from unity and love. When we do not act according to our beliefs, we can experience division within ourselves, and that promotes division in our relationships with others and with God. Jesus’ challenge and promise in this passage offer us an opportunity to look at these struggles and ask ourselves if our actions reflect the life that Christ prays for us to have.
– In what areas of your life do you struggle most to maintain unity between your Christian beliefs and your actions?
Adapted from Word on the Go, a downloadable resource from RENEW International.