Jaime L. WatersApril 22, 2021
Photo by Daan Stevens on Unsplash.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus offers a prayer just before he is arrested. While the Synoptic Gospels record the agony in the garden, when Jesus’ followers fall asleep as he prays not to be crucified, John has a different tradition regarding Jesus’ final moments with the disciples. In John, Jesus prays primarily for his followers, not himself. Within the prayer, we are given important information about how Jesus understands their future work.

‘When I was with them, I protected them in your name.’ (Jn 17:12)

Liturgical day
SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER (B)
Readings
Acts 1:15-26; Ps 103; 1 Jn 4:11-16; Jn 17:11-19
Prayer

How do you promote truth in the world?

What do you do when you have doubts?

How do you help people who lack certainty in their faith?

 

Jesus asks the Father in heaven for protection for the disciples, which reveals the perils of discipleship. Jesus wants them to be safe from those in the world who hate him, and them by extension. Likewise, Jesus asks that they are protected “so that they may be one just as we are one.” 

Most scholars believe the Gospel of John was written toward the end of the first century, over 60 years after Jesus’ crucifixion. John reflects some of the inner conflicts that likely emerged after Jesus’ death. Jesus’ prayer for his disciples to be one reflects such divisions within the community. John depicts Jesus calling instead for unity, just as he is united with the Father in heaven.

Importantly, at the end of the Gospel, Jesus says that his followers are sent into the world “consecrated in truth,” calling on them to spread the good news openly and honestly. At the beginning of John, Jesus is called the true light (Jn 1:9). Early in his ministry, Jesus interacts with Nicodemus and emphasizes that those who seek truth will come to the light (Jn 3:19-21). Now, at the end of his ministry, Jesus reaffirms the importance of truth as an element of the continued work that is entrusted to the disciples.

The second reading explains how that truth comes about through love, by which “God remains in us.” Divine love is truly perfected within the community and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and acts of love enable the good news to be spread truthfully.

As we near the end of the Easter season, today’s Gospel is a reminder to be confident in faith, knowing that God is present in the world. Jesus’ final prayer offers instructions for the continued proclamation of the good news while imploring the disciples to be confident that Jesus has assured their care. As we continue to spread the Gospel today, even when confronted with hatred and animosity, we too can be assured of God’s love and protection.

 

We don’t have comments turned on everywhere anymore. We have recently relaunched the commenting experience at America and are aiming for a more focused commenting experience with better moderation by opening comments on a select number of articles each day.

But we still want your feedback. You can join the conversation about this article with us in social media on Twitter or Facebook, or in one of our Facebook discussion groups for various topics.

Or send us feedback on this article with one of the options below:

We welcome and read all letters to the editor but, due to the volume received, cannot guarantee a response.

In order to be considered for publication, letters should be brief (around 200 words or less) and include the author’s name and geographic location. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.

We open comments only on select articles so that we can provide a focused and well-moderated discussion on interesting topics. If you think this article provides the opportunity for such a discussion, please let us know what you'd like to talk about, or what interesting question you think readers might want to respond to.

If we decide to open comments on this article, we will email you to let you know.

If you have a message for the author, we will do our best to pass it along. Note that if the article is from a wire service such as Catholic News Service, Religion News Service, or the Associated Press, we will not have direct contact information for the author. We cannot guarantee a response from any author.

We welcome any information that will help us improve the factual accuracy of this piece. Thank you.

Please consult our Contact Us page for other options to reach us.

City and state/province, or if outside Canada or the U.S., city and country. 
When you click submit, this article page will reload. You should see a message at the top of the reloaded page confirming that your feedback has been received.

The latest from america

Today’s reading gives biblical examples of expecting and accepting rejection and persevering despite the obstacles.
Jaime L. WatersJune 17, 2021
Jesus responds to needs quickly and effectively, demonstrating selflessness, adaptability and concern for the welfare of others.
Jaime L. WatersJune 17, 2021
Today’s readings teach several important points about leadership: the need for rest, retreat and recovery, and compassion.
Jaime L. WatersJune 17, 2021
The readings remind us to be realistic and recognize that not everyone will respond favorably.
Jaime L. WatersJune 17, 2021