Homily for the seventh Sunday of Easter - Year B - Jn. 17:11-19


by

Father Daniel Meynen
 
 

" Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth."




Homily:


" Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one."


The discourse of Jesus that is reported in today's gospel was spoken by the Lord on the eve of his Passion, on the evening of Holy Thursday. It belongs to what is called the farewell discourse in the Upper Room. So, if the Church proposes to us today this passage from Scripture, as we prepare for the coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost, it is because there is a manifest relation between the celebration of the Eucharist and the coming of the Spirit of God into the Church of Christ. And this is evident from the very words of the Lord Jesus, who said: " Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one." After having consecrated the bread and the wine into his Body and Blood, Christ prays that all his disciples, the members of his Mystical Body, might be one in the Trinity, and thus in the Holy Spirit.


" While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to thee."


If there is a relation between the celebration of the Eucharist and the coming of the Holy Spirit into the Church, it means that the Spirit who is to unite all the disciples of Christ comes into the Church only in virtue of the Sacrifice of the Cross actualized for us again through the Eucharistic celebration. This is why Jesus closely associates, in his discourse, the union of the members of his Mystical Body with his supreme Sacrifice accomplished once and for all on the wood of the Cross. Thus he says to his Father, " But now I am coming to thee." The departure of Christ on the Cross is the condition for the coming of the Holy Spirit: " If I do not go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you." (Jn. 16:7) The coming of the Holy Spirit into the Church depends on the departure of Christ on the Cross and on his departure into Heaven at his Ascension.


" I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world."


If the Holy Spirit comes into the Church through the Eucharist, it is to transform the world through the Church, it is to render spiritual those who are still of the world, it is to elevate the spirits of all the members of Mystical Body of Christ. Christ is not of this world, and neither are Christians, for the Holy Spirit who guides them is he who comes to defend them from the enemy: the Evil One, as Jesus calls him. Once again, the Holy Spirit comes into the Church only in virtue of the redeeming Sacrifice of the Cross: if all the members of the Church are in communion with each other in Christ, this can be so only in communion with the Sacrifice of Calvary actualized today through the celebration of the Eucharist.


" Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth. As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth."


The mission of Christ is destined to spread throughout the Church. There are not two missions: that of Christ and that of the Church. There is but one mission: that of Christ in his Church and for his Church. Each of the members of the Mystical Body of Christ is called to participate in Christ's mission: each of them is called to spread the Truth that is Christ himself! This is why the Lord says to his Father: " Sanctify them in the truth." If Christ underwent the trial of the Cross to bear witness to the Truth that he himself is, the Church must also go through this same trial, or rather, the Church must participate in the unique redeeming Sacrifice of Christ. For the Holy Spirit is himself the Spirit of Truth (cf. Jn. 16:13), and he will not come into the Church unless she testifies to the truth; and he will continue to come as long as the Church continues to profess and to demonstrate ever more ardently her attachment to the truth.


" And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth."


The Lord Jesus consecrated himself to God his Father on Calvary in order that all his disciples, until the end of time, might also have the strength and the power to consecrate themselves to God by bearing witness to the Truth, by openly professing their attachment to him as the Son of God. May the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, who is the first of all the faithful, and their model in Christ, help us all to worthily receive the Eucharist today. Let us all have our hearts set on participating in the Passion of the Lord in order that the presence of the Holy Spirit might always grow in the Church!



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