Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Prayers of Jesus

There are many instances in the Gospels where Jesus prayed, often going off on his own (Luke 5:16).  At least once, the disciples were curious about his penchant for prayer, asking him to teach them to pray as he does (Luke 11:1).  The result in that instance was that beautiful prayer we call “The Lord’s Prayer.”  He also instructed them as to what to do and what not to do when they pray:  do not “stand on the street corner so that others may see you” and “go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.”  (Matthew 6:5-8).

My thoughts today came from the Scripture passages that the Church has chosen for the Gospels messages at Mass for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week (see John 17).  Jesus was not off on his own this time.  These were very public prayers in the presence of his disciples.  I’m sure glad John was listening so intently, because there is some good stuff here. 

As if he were speaking face-to-face to God the Father about his disciples (and us), he said “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”  He also said “I pray for them.  I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me, because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours and everything of yours is mine, and I have been glorified in them.”  And also:  “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.  Consecrate them in truth.”  And finally, he said this:  “And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.  Father, they are your gift to me.”

I used to think that this Chapter 17 of John’s gospel was little more than gibberish and was difficult to understand.  But no more.  What beautiful thoughts I now have about Jesus and God the Father as they relate to us.  Jesus prays for us.  We belong to God.  Jesus has been glorified through us.  We do not belong to the world, just as Jesus does not belong to the world.  Jesus asked God the Father to consecrate us.  We have the same glory that God gave to Jesus.  Jesus prayed that we be brought to perfection as one with God the Father.  God loves us just as he loves Jesus, and we are God’s gift to Jesus.  

Wow!  Powerful stuff!  Jesus is God's begotten son.  We are his adopted sons and daughters.  God loves us as much as he loves Jesus.  I've never had better thoughts.  Amen.

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