Central idea: Children of God. Doctrine: The Prayer of the Hour of Jesus. Practical application: The Lord’s Prayer.
Central idea: Children of God
Reading 1 Acts 1:12-14
After Jesus had been taken up to heaven the apostles
returned to Jerusalem
from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem,
a sabbath day’s journey away.
When they entered the city
they went to the upper room where they were staying,
Peter and John and James and Andrew,
Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew,
James son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot,
and Judas son of James.
All these devoted themselves with one accord to prayer,
together with some women,
and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
- After Christ’s Ascension and before the coming of the Holy Spirit, the tiny core of the Church devoted themselves to ten days of prayer. Among them were Christ’s eleven remaining Apostles, some faithful women, close family members, and “Mary the mother of Jesus.”
- A few years back, now-retired Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia was asked to suggest a basic program of spirituality for ordinary layperson. He answer was simple and completely in accord with the action of the nascent Church: “Read. Pray. Worship. It’s not complicated. But you do need to actually do it, rather than just talk about it.”
Responsorial Psalm Ps 27:1, 4, 7-8
R. I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.
The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom should I fear?
The LORD is my life’s refuge;
of whom should I be afraid?
One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek:
to dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
That I may gaze on the loveliness of the LORD
and contemplate his temple.
Hear, O Lord, the sound of my call;
have pity on me, and answer me.
Of you my heart speaks; you my glance seeks.
- What was the prayer of the tiny Church in those days after the Ascension and before Pentecost?
- This psalm tells us: to see the good things of God now; to see God; to be with God.
Reading 2 1 Pt 4:13-16
Rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ,
so that when his glory is revealed
you may also rejoice exultantly.
If you are insulted for the name of Christ, blessed are you,
for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
But let no one among you be made to suffer
as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as an intriguer.
But whoever is made to suffer as a Christian should not be ashamed
but glorify God because of the name.
- In this time of our lives on earth, it is not shame but glory to suffer for Christ.
- But it is a shame in this time of our lives on earth to suffer for doing evil.
Alleluia Cf. Jn 14:18
I will not leave you orphans, says the Lord.
I will come back to you, and your hearts will rejoice.
- If we are not orphans, we must have paternity. God the Father is Our Father. Jesus Christ is our brother. And we have a mother, too, “Mary the mother of Jesus.”
Gospel Jn 17:1-11a
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said,
“Father, the hour has come.
Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you,
just as you gave him authority over all people,
so that your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.
Now this is eternal life,
that they should know you, the only true God,
and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.
I glorified you on earth
by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do.
Now glorify me, Father, with you,
with the glory that I had with you before the world began.
“I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
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 now I will no longer be in the world,
but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”
- Our Lord says that the Father gave him authority over men so that he could give men eternal life. Now he asks for the Father to give him glory so that he can return that glory to him.
- The Father has children among men but they did not know this.
- The Father gave these children to his Son and sent Him into the world to reveal to them who they are.
- Christ glorified his Father by revealing the Father to them.
- Now they know they are God’s children.
- To be a child of God means to have eternal life by knowing the Father and the Son.
Doctrine: The Prayer of the Hour of Jesus
- The “hour” that has come, which Christ refers to in today’s Gospel, is his Passover, that is, his Passion by which he passed over to the Father for our salvation (CCC 2746).
- Jesus prayed to the Father in regard to “the whole economy of creation and salvation,” and “his death and Resurrection” (CCC 2746).
- We call this prayer–of Christ to his Father in the presence of his Apostles–his priestly prayer: words “inseparable from his sacrifice, from his passing over (Passover) to the Father to whom he is wholly ‘consecrated’” (CCC 2747).
- “In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ: God and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the love that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who will believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer of unity.” (CCC 2748)
- “Jesus, the Son to whom the Father has given all things, has given himself wholly back to the Father, yet [he] expresses himself with a sovereign freedom by virtue of the power the Father has given him over all flesh” (CCC 2749).
- “The Son, who made himself Servant, is Lord, the Pantocrator,” the one who can do anything and the one who does everything or sustains all (CCC 2749).
- Our high priest who prays for us is also the one who prays in us and the God who hears our prayer. (CCC 2749)
- “Christ’s priestly prayer fulfills, from within, the great petitions of the Lord’s Prayer: concern for the Father’s name; passionate zeal for his kingdom (glory); the accomplishment of the will of the Father, of his plan of salvation; and deliverance from evil” (CCC 2750).
- Finally, Christ’s priestly prayer gives us knowledge of the mystery of the relationship of the Father and the Son (CCC 2751).
Practical application: The Lord’s Prayer
- Christ prays to the Father because he is the Son of the Father.
- We pray to the Father and the Son because we are children of God and Christ is our brother, our brother who is the sovereign Lord of creation.
- The Lord’s Prayer can become banal to us because of its familiarity. But recall from above that “Christ’s priestly prayer fulfills, from within, the great petitions of the Lord’s Prayer: concern for the Father’s name; passionate zeal for his kingdom (glory); the accomplishment of the will of the Father, of his plan of salvation; and deliverance from evil” (CCC 2750).
- As Fr. Tanquerey points out in his spiritual classic “The Spiritual Life: A treatise on ascetical and mystical theology,” the Lord’s Prayer is both the most beautiful and the most perfect prayer (515).
- It is “a sublime prayer, since every word of it refers to God’s glory, and yet so simple that it is within the reach of all; for whilst glorifying God, we ask for all the things that are most useful to us” (516).
- In the Lord’s Prayer, he continues, “we ask for all we desire and in the order in which we should desire it” (516, his italics).
- First God’s glory and second the growth of God’s kingdom.
- Then the means for attaining those ends.
- Then all the good things we need.
- And finally deliverance from the evils from which we need protection.
- So we could resolve to pray the Lord’s Prayer with more attention this week.
The Homiletic Directory suggests the following Catechism points and themes for the Seventh Sunday of Easter:
- CCC 2746-2751: Christ’s prayer at the Last Supper
- CCC 312, 434, 648, 664: the Father glorifies Christ
- CCC 2614, 2741: Jesus prays for us
- CCC 726, 2617-2619, 2673-2679: at prayer with Mary