May 27, 2019
by Luis Rodriguez, S.J.
Creighton University's Jesuit Community
click here for photo and information about the writer

Monday of the Sixth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 291

Acts 16:11-15
Psalms 149:1b-2, 3-4, 5-6a and 9b
John 15:26—16:4a

Daily Easter Prayer

Celebrating Easter

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

A Matter of the Heart: Prayer as Relationship

A Renewed Personal Encounter with Jesus

Jesus’ words to the disciples in today’s gospel reading must have had a sobering effect on them: They will expel you from their synagogues... even kill you... because they have not known either the Father or me. Their adversaries certainly knew about the Father, since their Scriptures told them plenty about God. They also knew about Jesus, since they consistently spied on him. But knowing about the Father or Jesus was not the same as knowing them. When in Jn. 17: 3 Jesus says in prayer: ...eternal life is this: to know you, the only true God, and the One you have sent, he does not have in mind knowing about you, the only true God, and about the One...

We know people by being with and interacting with them. Parents do not study their children, any more than we study our friends, which would only lead to knowing about them. We get to know others by being with and interacting with them. The disciples had come to know Jesus by being with and interacting with him and so Jesus tells them: also testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. As that knowing Jesus grew in them, their lives changed and thus their very living became testimony.

But their witness could not be understood by those who knew neither the Father nor Jesus and that resulted in persecution that was even colored as service of God. When on November 16, 1989 six Jesuits and two coworkers were murdered by the military at the Catholic University of San Salvador, those planning the killing made reality this warning of Jesus to his disciples. In his book Companions of Jesus Fr. Jon Sobrino, S.J. informs us that:

The actual murders themselves were decided during a high-level meeting of the National Intelligence Directorate the night of the shootings... The meeting finally ended at about 11:00 p.m. with the men joining hands together for prayer. They prayed that God in his goodness and mercy would protect them (the military) and come to their aid in their time of need.

Was Jesus right, when he said to the disciples: ...the hour is coming, when everyone who kills you will think he is offering worship to God?

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