Karen and I hope that you are enjoying this lesson and staying warm and dry today. We have so few lessons yet to study in this beautiful Gospel of John.
In Chapter 17 of the Gospel of John we have come to the end of the last meal which Jesus shared with his Apostles. It has been a long, eventful day for Jesus and the Apostles. The night has now grown dark. A cool wind is blowing through the open windows. The meal has been eaten; the plates taken away. The candles are burning down, soon to be extinguished. The men shift in their seats, wrapping their cloaks about them as a protection from the coolness of the night. In Chapter 12 of the Gospel of John we read of the anointing of Jesus at Bethany by Mary, Lazarus’ sister, and the triumphant entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. Also in Chapter 12 Jesus speaks more forcefully about his coming death: “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say, “Father save my from this hour? No, for this purpose I have come to this hour.””
Since Chapter 13, at the beginning of this last meal together, Jesus has been giving the Apostles His final instructions, both in word and in deed. By washing their feet Jesus has shown the Apostles what it means to be a servant to all. Jesus has told them that this very night He would be betrayed, even as His betrayer sits among them, and that Peter would deny Him three times. Jesus has reminded the Apostles that they must stay connected to Him, like branches on a grapevine, if they are to bear fruit for His kingdom. Jesus has given the Apostles His Commandment, that they love one another as He has loved them. Jesus has reminded the Apostles that the way to the Father is through faith in Him. Jesus has warned the Apostles that the world will hate and persecute them for their faith in Him, just as they have hated Him. Jesus has promised the Apostles that He would not leave them alone, that He would send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, to be with them always. And finally, Jesus has assured the Apostles that the sorrow and grief they will soon experience will turn to great joy that no one can take away.
The room is quiet, as the Apostles fight off the fatigue of a long day and try to comprehend all that Jesus has told them during these last hours. In their hearts there is a deep sadness, as they are fully aware now that their Lord and Teacher is returning to the Father, from Whom He had come. Then Jesus raises his eyes to heaven, and in a voice hardly above a whisper says, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your Son, so your Son may glorify You”. All heads turn once more to Jesus, the Apostles straining their ears to hear. Jesus final words in the presence of His friends are a prayer of love for the Apostles and for all those who will believe in Him through the Apostle’s words. Jesus prays that the Apostles will be faithful to what He has taught them and that the Father will protect all those who love Him.
Jesus prays “Holy Father, keep them in your name that You gave me, so that they may be one just as we are. When I was with them I protected them in your name that You gave me, and I guarded them…” These words are a reminder that the Father gave Jesus His name, as in Luke 1:31 the angel Gabriel tells Mary what her son’s name will be. “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus.” These words of Jesus, that His Name comes from the Father, remind us of the majesty, power and purpose in the very name of Jesus.
As the Catechism says, “The invocation of the Holy Name of Jesus is the simplest way of praying always…. This prayer is possible ‘at all times’, because it is not one occupation among others, but the only occupation: that of loving God, which animates and transfigures every action in Christ Jesus” (CCC 2668).
This week, as you go about your days, will you join me in lovingly repeating the Name of Jesus? Let us praise the One, who loved us “even unto death”, by keeping His Name constantly on our hearts and minds and lips. May the Holy Name of Jesus bless you and bring you peace.
As always you may call Karen or me, if you have any questions about the lesson. Enjoy your week and the lesson. We look forward to seeing you on Tuesday.
Karen and Franciene