Homily for the seventh Sunday of Easter
Year A - Jn. 17:1-11


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

"When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do; and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made.


" 'I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word. Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me.


" 'I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine; all mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.' "





Homily:


"When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, 'Father, the hour has come; glorify thy Son that the Son may glorify thee, since thou hast given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom thou hast given him. And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent. I glorified thee on earth, having accomplished the work which thou gavest me to do; and now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made."


On the seventh Sunday of Easter - that is, today - we celebrate, in some countries, the feast of the Ascension of the Lord into Heaven. But, in other countries, we celebrate the Mass proper to this Sunday. It is the gospel for this Sunday that I would like to comment upon now.


Once again, the gospel in question is taken from the discourse after the Last Supper, the discourse that was accompanied by the prayers pronounced by Jesus at the Institution of the Sacrament of the Eucharist. Specifically, today's gospel consists of the first words of Christ to his Father, at the beginning of chapter 17 of Saint John.


Jesus will soon return to his Father: he will die on the Cross of Calvary and his soul will then be united to his beloved Father for all eternity! Similarly, when the resurrected Jesus will have gone up into Heaven, it will be the body of Jesus that will be forever offered to the Father, forever and ever!


Today, all of this has already been accomplished! Today, right now as I am speaking to you, Jesus is in Heaven, under the eyes of the Father! Now the Father sees his Son, and the Son sees his Father! The Father sees his Son... What does this mean?


In human terms, to see is to use the eyes of the body to perceive the would outside oneself. But to see is also to understand, to use one's intelligence to know or recognize such and such a thing. It is in this second sense that the Father sees his Son.


When the Father sees his Son, he understands that he is his Son! Now, for God, who is Spirit, to understand is to live, it is to truly be a living Spirit, the Living One par excellence, He who lives forever and ever, He who gives life to the world!


This is why Christ says to his Father, praying to him: "And this is eternal life, that they know thee the only true God." To eternally live of the very life of God, to participate in the divine life, is to know God! The Father sees the Son in a unique act of divine life!


Today, in Heaven, the Father sees his Son living not only as God, but also as Man: the Father sees the Son in his body and in his human soul! Now, it is precisely the Father who sent his Son to earth so that he might become a man also...


So, when the Father sees the Son with his body and with his soul, the Father understands that his Son has accomplished all that he had ordered him to do: the Father understands that the Son was incarnated and that, through his Passion, he has redeemed the world from its sins!


The Father understands all this by seeing his Son before him. The Father also understands that the Son has become the firstborn of a multitude of brothers and sisters who are called to become his beloved children: his Son did good work, and he merits the reward of his gaze full of Love!


"I have manifested thy name to the men whom thou gavest me out of the world; thine they were, and thou gavest them to me, and they have kept thy word. Now they know that everything that thou hast given me is from thee; for I have given them the words which thou gavest me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from thee; and they have believed that thou didst send me."


The disciples of Jesus believed all that the Master had told them on behalf of the Father. Through this faith, the disciples are but one with Christ: they are already in Heaven with the Son, under the gaze of the Father. Already, those who believe in Christ live in eternal life in the Love of the Father!


Let us always live in faith! Let us pray to the Lord in order that faith might grow in us! For faith allows us to already live of the life of God and to enter into Heaven. For faith is what allows us, while we are still on earth, to already begin the Life of Heaven, under the gaze of the Father, in the Love of the Holy Spirit...


Let us ask the Most Blessed Virgin Mary to intercede for us with her risen Son, who is glorious and alive forever and ever! May the Mother of us all, She who is our model in faith, hope, and charity, watch over us, under the gaze of the Father! Amen!




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