“Holy Father, keep them in Your Name”, Jesus prayed

Today, the Church rightly reminds us again of Christ’s ongoing concern for each and every one of us as He approached His death.  Picture yourself sitting among the apostles at the Last Supper. Christ has informed us many times of His impending death. It is the last time He will be with us before His arrest, horrific crucifixion and death. Even under these stressful conditions Christ is praying to our Father on our behalf. We hear His intercessory prayer in today’s beautiful gospel: “Holy Father, keep them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one just as we are.” (John 17:11)

Christ offered this prayer for His people alone, not for the world at large. Everyone, who wants to come to God and knows that he or she is unworthy to come on merit alone, should be encouraged by Christ’s declaration, that He is both willing and able to save the least of us, who come to God through Him. Earnest convictions and desires are hopeful signs of Christ’s work already in us; they begin to show the world that we have been chosen for salvation. Just look at the foundation, upon which the prayer of Christ is grounded: All I have is yours and all you have is mine! This clearly shows that the Father and Son are one! The Son owns none of us that are not devoted to the service of the Father.

As we look around us at the unhappiness and conflict that people impose upon each other, we must agree. The ideal of selfless love is clearly shown in both of today’s readings. ‘I do not place any value on my own life’, says Paul, ‘provided I complete the mission the Lord has given me.’ This mission, he tells them, will cost him his life, but he has no regrets. In the gospel we have Jesus’ prayer of farewell to his friends: his life is the price to be paid for their and our redemption, and he willingly pays it. Throughout our lives we work to attain the materials necessary to support our families and loved ones. Christ’s concern, however, was His spiritual legacy which continues today. He gave Himself totally to us. Have we developed a spiritual legacy? Can we, as followers of Christ, as Christians, say, as He did, “I glorified You on earth by accomplishing the work that You gave me to do”? (John 17:4) What have we given spiritually to those we love? Let the mission of Christ continue in us. As Christians, we are asked for smaller sacrifices, but the motive is surely the same: love.

Lord, you paid the ultimate price for love with your life. Teach me, in the life I have been given, not to be afraid to love, and not to be afraid of the pain that goes with it.

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