Seventh Sunday of Easter – Sister Maureen O’Brien, SNDdeN
May 16, 2021
John 17: 11b -19
John 17:11b-19, the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday of Easter, is a dress rehearsal for the seismic event of Pentecost.
The ragtag band of Apostles, hiding out in an upper room, on a side street in Jerusalem, are paralyzed with fear. Jesus had promised to send someone to replace him as protector and guardian, but they barely remember that promise. Instead they are overwhelmed with the stress of their sheer survival without him.
Their three-year run in Jesus’ shadow is over. What did it get them, they think, to be recognized as the chosen of the Messiah? All that is left are the memories of who he was for them and who they were because of him. Remove Jesus from the equation and nothing remains but fear. There is neither purpose nor direction.
One week before Pentecost and Jesus locates us in our upper rooms. The advantage we have over the Apostles is that we can hear and reflect on Jesus’ words and observe his relationship with the Father. Jesus, the suppliant, asks the Father to protect those he loves, to protect us. We see and hear him at prayer, not using the majestic cadences of the Our Father, but the human tones of friendship and love. Jesus is returning to the Father, but before he does, he needs to be sure that we are safe.
“Consecrate them in the truth.” (Jn.17:17), Jesus prays. “Send them into the world as you sent me,” (Jn.17:18 “Give them whatever they need so that they are one as we are one,” (17:21). John’s Gospel on this Sunday before Pentecost contains an intense example of divine bartering between the Father and Son.
By the time we come to the close of evening prayer on Sunday, May 16, I pray that we may have the freedom to echo these words, “May God bless us with strong and steadfast hearts as we await the coming of the Holy Spirit, through Jesus, the Wisdom of God. AMEN”
John 17: 11b -19
Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one. When I was with them I protected them in your name that you gave me, and I guarded them, and none of them was lost except the son of destruction, in order that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you. I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely. I gave them your word, and the world hated them, because they do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world but that you keep 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, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”
The Gospel of the Lord