ACTS 20: 17 – 27
In those days: From Miletus Paul went to Ephesus and called to him the elders of the Church. And when they came to him, he said to them: “You yourselves know how I lived among you all the time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials which befell me through the plots of the Jews; how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance to God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 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. And now, behold, I know that all you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will see my face no more. Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”
The Word of the Lord.
Psalm 68: 10 – 11, 20 – 21 (R.) 33a
R/. You kingdoms of the earth, sing to God.
You poured down, O God, a generous rain;
when your people languished,
you restored their inheritance.
It was there that your flock began to dwell.
In your goodness, O God, you provided for the poor. R/.
Day after day, may the Lord be blest.
He bears our burdens; God is our saviour.
This God of ours is a God who saves.
The Lord our Lord provides an escape from death. R/.
John 14: 16
I will pray the Father, and he will give you another Counsellor, to be with you forever.
“Father, glorify your Son.”
JOHN 17: 1 – 11a
At that time: Jesus lifted up his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him power over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work which you gave me to do; and now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory which I had with you before the world was made. “I have manifested your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world; yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you; for I have given them the words which you gave me, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you did send me. I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours; all mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
REFLECTION AND MEDITATION:
In his Last Supper discourse with his beloved disciples Jesus speaks of his glory and the glory of his Father. What is this glory? It is the cross which Jesus speaks of here and the willing offering of his life for us. How does the cross reveal this glory? In the cross God reveals the breadth of his great love for sinners and the power of Jesus’ redemptive sacrifice which cancels the debt of sin and reverses the curse of our condemnation (Romans 8:1). Jesus gave his Father the supreme honor and glory through his obedience and willingness to go to the cross for our sake. In times of defense the greatest honor belongs not to those who fought and survived but to those who gave the supreme sacrifice of their own lives for their fellow citizens.The Lord Jesus freely and willingly offered up his life out of obedience to his Father and love for us.
Jesus reveals the glory of God to us
Jesus speaks of the Father bringing glory to the Son through the great mystery of the Incarnation – the eternal Word who became flesh for our sake (John 1:14) – and the Cross of Christ which won for us pardon, freedom, and new life in the Holy Spirit. God the Father gave us his only begotten Son to set us free from slavery to sin, guilt, and condemnation. His sacrificial death brings us new life – the abundant life of peace and joy which God wishes to share with each one of us. There is no greater proof of God’s love for each and every person on the face of the earth than the Cross of Jesus Christ. In the cross we see a new way of love – a love that is merciful, sacrificial, and generous beyond measure.
Jesus offers abundant life without end
Jesus offers us eternal life. What is eternal life? It is more than simply a life without end or an eternal state of being. Science and medicine look for ways to extend the duration of human life – but God offers us something vastly greater and more surpassing than a simple extension of physical life. Eternal life is qualitative more than quantitative. To have eternal life is to have the very life of God within us. When we possess eternal life we experience here and now something of God’s majesty, glory, and holiness which he shares with us. Through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit, God fills us with the abundant fruit of his peace, joy and love.
We can know God personally
Jesus also speaks of the knowledge of God. Jesus tells his disciples that they can know the only true God. Knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally and be united with God in a personal relationship of love and friendship. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the personal and experiential knowledge of God as our eternal Father – the one who knew us before creation (Ephesians 1:4 and Romans 8:29) and who knit us in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13 and Jeremiah 1:5). Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like.
A unity of love that endures forever
In Jesus Christ we see the perfect love of God – a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God – a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly. Do you hunger to know God personally and to be united with the Father in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through the unity of the Holy Spirit who dwells with us? The Lord Jesus invites each of us to enter more deeply into a personal relationship of love and oneness of mind, heart, and spirit with the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who created us in love for love.
“If only I possessed the grace, good Jesus, to be utterly at one with you! Amidst all the variety of worldly things around me, Lord, the only thing I crave is unity with you. You are all my soul needs. Unite, dear friend of my heart, this unique little soul of mine to your perfect goodness.You are all mine; when shall I be yours? Lord Jesus, my beloved, be the magnet of my heart; clasp, press, unite me for ever to your sacred heart. You have made me for yourself; make me one with you. Absorb this tiny drop of life into the ocean of goodness whence it came. (Prayer of Francis de Sales, 1567-1622) “
GOSPEL REFLECTION: The Glory of God
May 23, 2023
“I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.” (John 17:4–5)
Saint Ignatius of Loyola bases his spiritual masterpiece, The Spiritual Exercises, on one basic premise: Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul. This is the essence of what Ignatius calls the “Principle and Foundation” of our lives. In other words, our goal in life is twofold: First, we must seek to give God the greatest glory possible by our lives. And second, the effect of this singular focus is the salvation of our souls.
In the Gospel passage quoted above, Jesus speaks of the fact that He perfectly fulfilled His human life on earth by glorifying the Father in Heaven. He did this by accomplishing the work that the Father gave Him to fulfill.
If you are looking for purpose in your life or if you are trying to discover the meaning of your life, then look no further. Jesus’ words above offer the ideal “principle and foundation” for your life. This message of our Lord could be broken down into three lessons.
First, the Father truly does have a plan for your life. Are you seeking to discover that plan? Knowing that there is a divine plan for your life is the first step in fulfilling it. If you do not know God’s plan, it will be difficult to fulfill it. So do you seek to discern this plan each and every day?
Secondly, when you do discern what God wants of you in your daily life, you must accomplish His will. Sometimes we fall into the trap of trying to fulfill only a portion of what God wants of us. The problem with that approach is that we may actually accomplish “a portion” of God’s will. But that’s not enough. We must aim for perfection. We must strive for the complete fulfillment of the will of God in our lives.
Thirdly, if we can truly accomplish the daily will of God for our lives, then our lives will not only glorify God in every way possible, but we will also be blessed to share in God’s glory. To share in God’s glory is to share in God’s very life. It means that God will be alive in us and we will become partakers of the joys of Heaven. And it will begin here on earth. Why would we settle for earthly “joys” and earthly pleasures when we are called to share in delights that are beyond what we could ever imagine in this world?
Reflect, today, upon Jesus’ act of perfectly fulfilling the will of the Father in His human nature. Even though our Lord was divine, He was also fully human. He, therefore, perfectly understands your human struggles and weaknesses. He knows what you go through, and His humanity is the model for you to follow in life. Reflect upon His human life and the way in which He lived in union with the will of His Father day in and day out. Commit yourself to this unwavering mission of fully accomplishing the will of the Father in your life and you, too, will share in the glory of our Lord.
My glorified Lord, You now share in the full joy and glory of Your Father in Heaven with Your human nature. By doing so, You invite me to not only imitate Your life on earth but to also share in that same glory in Heaven. Give me the grace I need, dear Lord, to accomplish all that the Father calls me to do. May my life fully imitate You in every way so that I may also share, one day, in Your glory. Jesus, I trust in You.