We Belong to Jesus

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Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter

 

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.”

 

Opening Prayer: Lord, I quiet my heart to reflect on your final words to your disciples. Help me to draw from this time of prayer a deeper understanding of your love for me, as your disciple.

 

Encountering Christ:

  1. Lifting up His Eyes to Heaven: For three consecutive days (yesterday, today, and tomorrow) the Gospel begins with, “Lifting up his eyes to heaven.” Jesus, who is also God, raised his eyes when he spoke to the Father. Jesus also raised his eyes as he prayed to the Father to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:41). Perhaps Jesus is calling our attention to the transcendence of God the Father, of his power and might, of his “otherworldliness.” God the Father is infinitely deserving of our praise and we raise our eyes most naturally when we are lifting our hearts to him in humble prayer.“I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall be always in my mouth. My soul will glory in the Lord” (Psalms 34:1-3).
  2. Keep Them from the Evil One: In his farewell discourse, Our Lord petitioned the Father for many graces on behalf of his disciples, and all of these graces belong also to us, his modern disciples. In these particular lines, we hear that Jesus protected and guarded his disciples while they accompanied him on his Father’s mission. And, as he prepared to die, Jesus asked the Father to “keep them from the evil one.” We need the Father’s protection to resist temptation. He asked for it aloud, and Jesus encouraged us to ask for it regularly every time we say the Our Father. “God wants to set us free from evil” (CCC 2846).
  3. Consecrate Them in the Truth: In this petition, Jesus asked the Father to consecrate his disciples in the truth. Since Jesus is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6), the Lord was asking the Father to make us holy, to sanctify us, to bring us to union with him. “Is he not himself the living Word of God, to which every other word refers? Sanctify them in the truth—this means, then, in the deepest sense: make them one with me, Christ. Bind them to me. Draw them into me” (Benedict XVI, Pope Emeritus, April 9, 2009). Our Lord asked for this grace while the disciples were still alive. We can count on these graces as well, today–now–in this time of prayer. Come Holy Spirit!

 

Conversing with Christ: It’s clear, Lord, that you desire my holiness. When I am holy, it pleases you and it also impacts those closest to me. Despite the frequency with which I fall, I believe that you have given me all the grace I need to come to union with you, and my heart is full of gratitude. 

 

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will prayerfully pray the “Our Father,” one line at a time.

 

For Further Reflection: To pray more deeply the “Our Father,” read this meditation.

 

Written by Maribeth Harper

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