May 26, 2020 – 7th Week of Easter

“Having close intimacy with our Father by growing in our life of prayer!”

(Based on Acts 20:17-27 and Jn 17:1-11)

The earthly life and ministry of Jesus is presented in the Bible mainly through the Four Gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke, John.

Of these, Mathew, Mark and Luke are termed as the Synoptic Gospels (synoptic meaning ‘same view’) because they have a common view.

The Gospel of John reflects a Christian tradition that is different from that of the other Gospel.
It differs significantly from the synoptic gospels in theme, content, time duration, order of events, and style.

One important distinction that is seen between the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John is that, while some events are very clearly and narratively described in the Synoptics, the elements of the same are found in the Gospel of John, either figuratively or in more detail.

One such event is the Temptations.

The temptations of Jesus find a clear mention in the three Synoptic Gospels as a one-time event.
But the Gospel of John would present the same temptations, not as a one-time affair, but spread through the life and ministry of Jesus.

Another event we see is the Institution of the Holy Eucharist.

The narrative of the Institution of the Holy Eucharist finds a specific mention in all the three Synoptic Gospels, at the time of the Last Supper
The Gospel of John presents a very long teaching on the Holy Eucharist (Jn 6) and clearly presents the implications and consequences of being a Eucharist through the washing of the feet and His explicit commandment of love (Jn 12)

Another event or incident that finds a mention in two of the Synoptic Gospels is the Lord’s Prayer – the Our Father.

But it doesn’t appear as one-block of prayer in the Gospel of John.

However, the Gospel of John also presents a very extensive teaching and displays a method of prayer.

The Gospel of the Day is this beautiful expression of Jesus praying in the Gospel of John and presents to us elements which need to become part of our own prayer life.

The Seventeenth Chapter of the Gospel of John is traditionally called as the High Priestly prayer of Jesus.

The Gospel passage of the day (Jn 17: 1-11) presents a few basics and essentials of prayer:

  1. Jesus prays for the glory of the Divine

Every prayer ought to be an expression of praise, worship and exaltation of the Holy Name of God.

Jesus prayed, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to Your Son, so that your Son may glorify You!” (Jn 17: 1)

The lips of the Lord moved in praise of His Father and seeking the glory that was due to Him.

Is my prayer an expression of my desire to ‘lift up the name of the Lord on high?”

Or does my prayer degenerate into merely asking for things and wanting to focus the attention on me, than the Divine?

  1. Jesus prays for the gift of eternal life for His people

Every prayer ought to have its intention aimed towards eternity!

Jesus prayed, “… just as You gave Him authority over all people, so that He may give eternal life to all You gave Him” (Jn 17: 2)

The purpose of the Lord was clearly focussed on eternal goodness and everlasting benefits.

Is my prayer an articulation of my longing for heaven and centred towards seeking the higher-things of life?

Or do I get limited in my prayer with merely earthly and transitory things of life; not that they are unimportant, but whether they snatch away our minds from the true needs and requirements of life?

  1. Jesus prays with an expression of His intimacy with God and His People

Every prayer ought to be a manifestation of my unity with the Lord and the people to whom I am connected.

Jesus prayed, “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world. They belonged to you and you gave them to me… ” (Jn 17: 6)

The prayer of the Lord showed that He was in intimacy with the Father and was in close union with the people in His life

Is my prayer a sign of my close friendship with the Lord as well my close binding with the many people in my life?

Or am I failing in my prayer due to a breakage of relation with the Lord due to sin, and suffering from disturbance of mind due to damaged and hateful links with the people in my life?

  1. Jesus prays for the unity of the people and safety from the evil

Every prayer ought to make me closer to the Lord and His people and cause to me stay further away from the evil.

Jesus prayed, “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are one” (Jn 17: 11b)

The heart of the Lord moved to seek to protect the people He loved and also grow in greater intimacy

Is my prayer constantly drawing me to purge away sins from my life, so that I can remain in His name, and also make me assist His people in service?

Or does my prayer life make no effect on me to stay away from the evil and fail to be expressed in loving actions of charity and help?

The Lord desires that just as He prayed, in close intimacy with His Father, we too may grow in our life of prayer and union with the Heavenly Father.

It’s this intimacy that will make us to offer our lives in total service to the Lord – not counting costs, or losing one’s comforts – just like St Paul who testified at Ephesus:
“And now, behold, I am going to Jerusalem, bound in the Spirit, not knowing what shall befall me there; except that the Holy Spirit testifies to me in every city that imprisonment and afflictions await me.
But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may accomplish my course and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God!” (Acts 20:22-24)

May we be inspired by the “Humorous Saint” St Philip Neri, whose feast we celebrate and be encouraged by his words, to follow the Lord more closely and deeply:

“Cheerfulness strengthens the heart and makes us persevere in a good life. Therefore the servant of God ought always to be in good spirits.”

“Nulla dies sine linea: Do not let a day pass without doing some good during it.”

“Give me ten truly detached persons. and I will convert the world with them.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Everyone of us needs half an hour of prayer every day, except when we are busy…

… then we need an hour!”

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