On the eve of his Passion, what did the Son ask of the Father?
“Give glory to your son.” Through following the will of His Heavenly Father to the end on the cross, Jesus gives glory to His Father, and receives glory through His Resurrection. The Father raises Him up so that we can be raised up with Him to eternal life, where we will know the Father and love the Father just as the Son does.
“Keep them in your name that you have given me.” Jesus asks the Father to protect us. He knows we will face trials and temptations in the world. He protected the apostles (those the Father gave Him) while He was on earth. He asks the Father to protect them when He returns to Heaven. He will repeat this request, reminding us that, while God is all-powerful, there are forces trying to drag us down: “Keep them from the evil one.”
And why does Jesus ask the Father to keep us in His name? “So that they may be one just as we are.” Jesus prays for the unity of His followers. He consistently connects the concepts of love and unity. Love unites the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and when we love each other, in particular when we love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ, we share in the Trinitarian love. How many converts did the early Christian communities win when they shared everything in common and broke bread together? What a witness of love they gave to a hostile world! And how many souls are lost today because of the divisions among Christians?
“Consecrate them in the truth.” To be consecrated is to be made holy. It is to be set apart for a special service of the Lord. (1) To serve the Father as He calls us, we must be consecrated in the truth. And the fullness of truth is found in Jesus, the eternal Word of God who reveals the Father to us. The truth is found nowhere else. We cannot serve the Lord and be made holy without His Son.
“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”
Jesus prays for our unity as Christians, that we may share in the Trinitarian love, and that by our love for each other the world may come to be believe. Let us pray and strive for unity among Christians. We live in a hostile world. We need each other. Let us strive to live in truth together. Let us be faithful to the prayer of Jesus.
Lastly, in reading and reflecting on Jesus’ Last Supper discourse, I noticed that the Lord used certain words again and again. Jesus is inviting us to share in the love of the Holy Trinity, to abide in that sacred communion of love. These are the words He uses with great frequency to convey to us the mystery of the Trinity and the fulfillment of a life lived through Him, with Him and in Him:
- He uses the word JOY seven times.
- He uses the word GLORY (or a variation such as “glorify”) ten times.
- He uses the word TRUTH eleven times.
- He uses the word GIVE (or a variation such as “giving”) twelve times.
- He uses the word LOVE thirty-six times.
Joy. Glory. Truth. Give. Love. The words of the Savior. He spoke the truth, He gave his life, He was raised in glory, so that we could share in His Joy. All this he did for love. For the love He has for His Father. For the love He has for each and every one of us.
(1) Francis Martin and William M. Wright IV. The Gospel of John: Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture. 284
Image: The Coronation of the Virgin by Diego Velazquez (downloaded from Wikipedia Commons).