Homily for the seventh Easter Sunday

Year A  -  John 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.»"

"Father, the hour has come."  What astonishing words to come from Jesus, this Man who had come to save all men and women, for he was not only a Man, but also God!  What astonishing words to flow forth from this Heart which loved the world so much, but which, however, was going to leave it in order to go to the Father!  What words, which could truly be disconcerting to us all, given the extent to which we are all attached to this world which passes away, and which we shall soon leave as Jesus did, for life is so short . . .  "Father, the hour has come."  Each one of us can repeat these words of the Lord for himself, for Heaven is there, close at hand, very near, and Jesus is waiting for us there!

"Father, the hour has come."  Jesus spoke these words to his Father on the day before his Passion:  for he knew everything, and at that sublime instant, he awaited his Passion with a holy ardor, almost a holy impatience!  Having said this prayer, Jesus left and went to his executioners:  it was his first departure, which he accomplished on the Cross of Calvary.  But, forty days after his Resurrection, Jesus left again, definitively, until his Return at the end of time:  this was his second departure, which he accomplished on the day of his Ascension into Heaven.  These two departures were necessary in order that, finally, he, whom Jesus had promised so often, could come:  the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete, or rather, the "other Counselor" (John 14:16), Jesus being the first.

"«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.»"

Jesus has completed his mission:  he has fulfilled his function as the Word of the Father, he has passed on to mankind everything the Father had told him to say to them, so that they too might now know the way of Heaven, which is none other than Jesus himself.  Indeed, Jesus would say shortly afterwards:  "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."  But it seems that, in this mission, or rather, in order to accomplish it, Jesus had voluntarily stripped himself of something, something precious indeed:  the glory which the Father had given him!  For he then adds:  "And now, Father, glorify thou me in thy own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world was made."

Let us read Saint Paul on this subject:  "Though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." (Phil. 2:6-11)

"«And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee.»"

These words of the Lord illustrate very well the condition of Christ's disciples and that of the Savior of the world:  the disciples are called to remain in the world, in order that their union might manifest to the world the presence of their Master (cf. John 17:21);  but Christ is called to go to the Father, in Heaven, in order to draw the hearts of his disciples to that blessed place, that home without stain where the elect of God enjoy happiness without end and without limit!  The condition of the entire Church, both Head and Body, is found in these words of the Savior:  the Mystery of Jesusí Ascension into Heaven and that of the coming of the Holy Spirit are at the service of this other Mystery, more magnificent and holy:  that of the life of the Church in her Head and in her Body!

Actually, it is this Mystery which is realized every time we receive the Eucharist within us:  the union of Christ and the believer who receives the Eucharist can be so holy and so intense that the Ascension of the Savior is renewed in the one who receives communion, and the coming of the Holy Spirit in a way takes place once again, in order that the Church might always grow in holiness and in size!  May Mary, the Most Holy Mother of God, bless our communion today!