FR. MIKE’S HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK OF EASTER (1)










FR. MIKE’S HOMILY FOR THURSDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK OF EASTER

THEME: JESUS PRAYS FOR US

BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

HOMILY FOR THURSDAY JUNE 2 2022

John 17:20 -26

Lifting up His eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed, saying, “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.
And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me. Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

In the many years of my priestly ministry, many people have asked me to pray for their particular intentions, especially during Mass. It is, indeed, reassuring to know that the priest is praying for us. But the Gospel today should give us even more comfort and assurance: it is Jesus Himself who is praying for us. He did not pray for His disciples only, but for all His followers who will come after them: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.”
He is talking about us – you and me! We just do not pray to Jesus; He Himself prays for us. And considering that He is God, His words, therefore, have eternal implication. So, that means Jesus prayed for us; He continues to pray for us; and He will always be praying for us for all eternity. This should give us great comfort and joy for the rest of our lives.

First and foremost, Jesus prays for our unity: “so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us”. Unity does not mean uniformity. The Apostle Paul is clear about that. That is why he uses the image of the body – it has different parts but these are working together in harmony for the welfare of the whole (1 Cor 12:12). This unity is the fruit of love – the perfect bond of His disciples that brings them together and the most distinctive mark of discipleship: “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35).

We may take the example of the early Christians. In a world divided according to various categories and camps, they never failed to amaze people with the fruit of authentic discipleship: Jews and Greeks, men and women, rich and poor, slaves and freemen sharing a common community life in love and mutual support (cf Acts 4:32-35). Many historians are of the opinion that envy was the main reason why Christians were persecuted by secular society.

The famous early Christian writer, Tertullian, wrote: “It is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one another, for they themselves are animated by mutual hatred. See, they say about us, how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves will sooner put to death” (The Apology, ch. 39).

Looking at the present condition of the Church, we can be certain that Jesus is far from delighted. Through the ages, the Church has been wracked by conflicts that led to schisms and divisions: the Great Schism of 1054, which separated the Eastern Church from the Western Church; the Western Schism of 1378 to 1417 when there were three rival popes; the Protestant Reformation in 1517 that led to the emergence of hundreds of thousands of Christian denominations. Add to these the countless conflicts and wars even among Christian nations all over the world. This scenario is not only sad but a disgraceful counter witness to the unity and love of the Triune God.

Yet everything is not without hope. Pope Benedict XVI expressed this in one of his interviews. He said, “The unity of the Church has always been in danger, for centuries. She has been so throughout her history. Wars, internal conflicts, threats of schisms… However, at the end, the awareness that the Church is and must remain united, has always prevailed. Her unity has always been stronger than the internal conflicts and wars” (Corriere della Sera, on June 28, 2019). This is due to one obvious reason: the Lord Jesus is continually praying for us, that despite all these challenges, we may remain united.

Let us be confident and at peace that Jesus is praying for us. But must do our part. If love is the key to unity, selfishness is the root cause of all divisions and conflicts. Let us, therefore, strive to overcome selfishness and endeavor to reach out to others in love. Such, in fact, is the fervent prayer of Jesus: “Father, I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am so that they may always see My glory, which You have given Me.”

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches




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