Daily Reflection
May 19th, 1999
Michael Lee, S.J.
Act 20:28-38
John 17:11b-19
Is there someone who knows you just as you are?  To whom do you open your heart?

The Gospel of John recounts Jesus’ own prayer to God the Father, one of the most intimate passages in the New Testament.  Today’s passage comprises the centerpiece of that prayer.   What could be more intimate than a person’s private conversation with God?

Seeking the Father’s care for fragile disciples – human beings like ourselves – constitutes the lively pulse of Jesus’ prayer.  Consider Peter’s fragility in the scene when Jesus is washing feet (John 13:1-7).  At first Peter refuses to have his feet washed, but later he changes his mind expresses willingness to fully submit to Jesus’ offer.   Jesus asks the Father to protect and unite the disciples and to extend his holiness to them.  Essentially, Jesus prays for his disciples, “May they all be one.”   We fragile disciples need God to watch out for us.

The Gospel of John situates Jesus’ prayer between the account of the Last Supper and that of Jesus’ night-time arrest in the garden.  What follows the arrest is Jesus’ living proof of his limitless love in his death to set us free from sin.  God’s expansive love and ultimate concern for us find expression in the name, Jesus.  The Father sent Jesus to reveal to us that God’s love has an exponent on it.  God loves us to the 20th power and far more.  The Psalmist having tasted God’s love writes, “The Lord is my light and my salvation of whom need I fear?” (Psalm 27:1)

“Love is shown in deeds,” says Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).   God’s love and Jesus’ prayer invite us courageously to show love to others in faith and in service.  Such that by Jesus’ prayer to the Father, we disciples are sent by the Sent One, Jesus.  With Pentecost  Sunday near, will you ponder with the aid of the Holy Spirit Jesus’ profound prayer asking God to forge disciples willing to serve the weakest and most fragile of our society?

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