Fr. Mike’s homily for Saturday of the 6th week of Easter
Theme: Ask and you will receive
By: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
Homily for Saturday May 15 2021
John 16:23b -28
“Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures but I will tell you clearly about the Father. On that day you will ask in my name, and I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you. For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world. Now I am leaving the world and going back to the Father.”
The Gospel reading today is already towards the end of the Last Supper Discourse. Jesus assures His disciples that they can have full access to the Father, but only in union with Him. If they are united with Him, He can take them to the Father: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.” Prayer addressed to the Father, in the name of Jesus, in union with Him, is certainly heard.
The disciples, though, do not have any idea about it yet: “Until now you have not asked anything in my name.” It is only after His glorification – resurrection and ascension – when they receive the Holy Spirit, that will they be able to do this. The Holy Spirit will fully enlighten them as to the true identity of Jesus and be united with Him in faith. “On that day you will ask in my name”. It is the day when, after His resurrection, He will appear to His disciples and impart the Spirit to them (Jn 20:19,22).
However, Jesus said something rather surprising and puzzling: “And I do not tell you that I will ask the Father for you.” Does Jesus imply that He is relinquishing His role as Mediator? Not at all! Rather, what He means here is that when the disciples have already achieved that complete unity with Him in faith and love, they will certainly be loved by the Father as He loves His Son (Jn 17:23, 26). Then, the Father will not anymore need the intercession of his Son. In Jesus, the disciples experience direct contact with the Father. And that is mediation in its most perfect sense!
Prayer, then, consists not only in kneeling down and reciting formulas from devotional books. Rather, true prayer is being fully immersed in the love of the Father and of the Son in union with the Holy Spirit: “For the Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have come to believe that I came from God.” Prayer is basically being in union with God in this relationship of love.
There are three levels of prayer. The first is vocal prayer. This is what most of us are familiar with. The second is Christian meditation. It is silent prayer, or prayer of the mind. Some call it prayer of mindfulness. And while meditation is still a human mode of prayer, contemplation, on the other hand, which is the highest level, is divinely infused prayer. It aims to achieve an intimate spiritual communion with God. In contemplation, one enters into a wordless prayer, an awareness of the Divine Guest within, not through the use of the intellect but through a loving and deep communion with the Triune God.
The best example of this is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Although Jesus is the only Mediator between God and man, Mary also exercises some kind of mediation. Hers, however, is not parallel mediation, but subordinate mediation. We come to her because she intercedes for us with her Son Jesus. Hence, we say, “Ad Jesum per Mariam” (To Jesus through Mary.) One may ask why Mary is such a powerful intercessor. The answer lies in her humble and unconditional obedience to God: “And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart” (Lk 2:19). Thus, she is in complete and profound union with God at all times throughout her life. Consequently, her prayers and petitions are pleasing to God for they are always in perfect accord with the divine will.
In prayer, we talk to God. He listens. Yet more importantly, He talks to us. We should be in silence in order to listen to what He says to us. Take note that the words ‘LISTEN’ and ‘SILENT’ are composed of the same letters. Communication, after all is always a two-way movement.
Most of all, however, in prayer we must strive to be in union with God. This we do by being faithfully obedient to His will, being fully attuned to His Spirit, and by being in close communion with Jesus. Then, like the Blessed Mother, what we ask the Father in Jesus’ name will be granted.
Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches