Seventh Sunday of Easter – Sister Nina Vandamme, SNDdeN – English

May 17, 2023 | Gospel Reflections

May 21, 2023

John 17: 1-11

In this Gospel passage, we see Jesus at a very important crossroads in his life. He knows that his life is quickly approaching its end. He has already spoken to His disciples about this. I can imagine the intensity of such a conversation. This is not the small talk people engage in everyday; it’s a conversation that reaches deep down into your heart and your soul – both for the one who speaks and those who listen. This is a conversation that you can only have with those who are very close to you. Jesus senses that His self-sacrifice is reaching a climax. His very being is shaken to his core. With this on His mind, like a child, He turns His eyes to His Father, with a deep desire for glorification, for returning home to His Father, for only in that way the Father can also be glorified. That is Jesus’ deepest desire.
He expresses his gratitude for the mission entrusted to Him: bestowing eternal life on all whom His Father has given to Him. Jesus desires intensely that they know his Father, that they know Him.
Jesus’ prayer is impertinent because He clearly indicates that He has fulfilled the task laid upon Him. NOW … He desires to be glorified – He asks explicitly for this and thus refers to the glory He had “before the world began”.
We are gifted with thus being allowed to look into Jesus’ heart, at his relationship with the Father and all that He has to say to Him.
Let us just reflect on that for a bit and linger over the heart of Jesus’ prayer.
What is my prayer like? How do I pray to the Father? Do I dare speak my innermost desires to Him?
Jesus also prays for his disciples and for all to whom He has revealed God’s name. He knows that what He has taught them is precious and very fragile, but at the same time, it is a call to action, to deeds. They have slowly come to realise that everything that Jesus gave “comes from God”.
Do I have any sense of everything God has given to me?
Because Jesus has knowledge of the fragility of their faith in God and their faith that Jesus was sent by God; He prays for them because they belong to God. He desires that all who believe in Him and in the relationship He has with the Father will also enjoy the richness of that relationship. He desires that we be able to share in that relationship that we make our own.
It is now up to us to proclaim God in the world in which we live, on the basis of our connection to the Father, the Son, and the Spirit.
If we look at our world with all its brokenness and we listen with all our senses, it is God who cries to us through people and calls us and summons us to roll up our sleeves. That is how we proclaim God – through our being, our acts, our words, and our compassion ….
God’s call should never cease.



John 17: 1-11

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
And now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

The Gospel of the Lord.



Meet Sister Nina Vandamme, SNDdeN

Nina Vandamme was born in Antwerp in Belgium: she entered the Sisters of Notre Dame at the 8th of September 1967. Before entering the Sisters of Notre Dame, she taught for 3 years at the first year of a primary school in Antwerp. After her novitiate, she taught for 9 years at the SND primary school in Berchem again in the first year and worked for another 9 years as a remedial teacher for children with learning difficulties in the same school. After that she was missioned as a principal to the primary school and kindergarten of Antwerp for 13 years. Sr. Nina is very grateful for what she has been able to learn from children. She says: “They have been my teachers. I sometimes wonder who was teaching whom: did I teach them or did they teach me?” She responds: “The answer is probably: ‘a bit of both’, but at all events I owe them a great debt–especially, those who challenged me to keep searching until I found what they needed and refused to let me give up.”