Seventh Sunday of Easter - May 16, 2021

Seventh Sunday of Easter - May 16, 2021

By David Kilby


READ

Jn 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.”


MEDITATE


 I speak this in the world so that they may share my joy completely.


Christ invites us to divine life in him. What does that mean to me? I was made for something greater than the mundane life that this world has to offer. No matter what promises the world gives, they end up not satisfying. No matter what joy I experience, I am left feeling like I was made for something more. Jesus’s words reach my heart because he knows how dissatisfied I am with this world. He offers a life that is so much more fulfilling if I simply believe in him and take the leaps of faith he calls me to take. Complete joy for me is experiencing glimpses of heaven here on earth, whether that’s feeling touched by God through an answered prayer or recognizing the truth, goodness, and beauty in his creation. Jesus came to earth and spoke among us so we could be more connected to him and the life in him, so we could experience God more intimately. What does experiencing joy completely mean to you? How does Christ invite you to share in his joy?


I gave them your word, and the world hated them


We have two options once we invite God’s word into our hearts. We can keep it to ourselves and remain on the good side of our peers. Or we can tell them about the gospel message and become ostracized by them and by society. No servant is better than his master. If they hated Christ they will hate us. It seems pessimistic to admit this, but if I am widely liked among believers and unbelievers, odds are I’m not living out the gospel. There’s bound to be something in Christ’s message to offend those who choose not to believe in him, something that is inconvenient and would require them to alter their lifestyle, something that makes them feel judged. But where do I stand as a believer? Honestly, many of Christ’s teachings are hard for me to swallow as well. When we read Christ’s words here, let’s not automatically assume that we are the ones who received God’s word and accepted wholesale. There probably are still teachings of Christ that we find hard to accept. As genuine as we all wish to be, if we’re honest we probably all live on both sides of the fence unless we are saints. I for one know that I find myself repeating St. Paul’s word quite often, “I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I do” (Romans 7:19). As much as I’d like to say the problem is out in the world, I often find that my own heart and soul are microcosms of the world around me. Do you experience the same? What can we do to make God’s word abide in us completely, so our will entirely conforms to his? More prayer is the obvious answer, but let’s be more specific. Meditate on what our prayer should be. 


They do not belong to the world any more than I belong to the world.


This is not our home. We’re just passing through. We are poor, banished children of Eve in a valley of tears. That is why we pray to be shown the fruit of Mary’s womb, Jesus, in this our exile. He is our hope, and that hope makes life worth living. This week we also celebrate the Ascension. It was a glimpse of the glory that awaits us if we follow Jesus. As sojourners on our way to heaven, we can take courage in the fact that Christ prepared a way for us. We don’t have to wander aimlessly in a wilderness where demons prowl seeking the ruin of souls. They try to get us caught up in the politics in the world and even in the Church to make us forget about our true home in heaven. It’s so easy to lose sight of our true destiny. We are like children who have been separated from their father. He is trying to reach us, but we have to show how much we want to be with him.   


Your word is truth.


Only God can make things true by his word alone. Human beings may think that something is true simply if the right authority says it, but Christ reminds us that he is truth. John’s Gospel begins “In the beginning was the Word.” Every time I read a Gospel passage I am inspired by the way the simple words are packed with deep profound truths. That’s because truth is a person, and when we read the Gospel, that person--Jesus Chris-- is in conversation with us. It’s amazing how the same words of Jesus can hit us differently every time we read them. They absolutely do have that miraculous power. In fact, all of Scripture is that way because it’s all God’s word. It’s all Jesus speaking to us. When Jesus came to earth, that word became flesh. Now it’s our turn to be Christ to the world. Christ sends us into it just as the Father sent him.


PRAY


Lord, how can we live a life that is more perfectly conformed to your will? We long to be one with you just as you and the Son are one. The joy we receive from the glimpses of heaven you give us are what make us certain that you are pursuing us. That divine reality is what keeps us going, and we thank you for being such a loving God who never gives up on us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


LISTEN


Take a moment to rest in God’s word, in Christ’s words. He is the truth, and his messages are efficacious. The saints knew that they don’t have to do anything to receive God’s love except be open to it. That is what it means to contemplate. God’s grace is enough.


David Kilby is a freelance writer from New Jersey and editor of Catholic World Report.

 
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