Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
We belong to God; we are the Good Shepherd’s flock. He has given us as a gift to the world and has given us His Truth to help us stay on the Way to eternal life. To what end? Listen to His prayer today, for He prays not only for us but “also for those who will believe in me through their word.”
The very same word He entrusted to us in yesterday’s reading—Himself, the Word of the Father—we are to share with the world, that they might come to know God and thus have eternal life. This is the work of Jesus; earlier He said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whoever believes in me will do the works that I do, and will do greater ones than these, because I am going to the Father.” (John 14:12) Even earlier, when speaking with the woman at the well, His friends thought He would surely be hungry but He says to them, “I have a food to eat of which you do not know…my food is to do the will of the one who sent me and to finish His work.” (John 4:32, 34)
Jesus is asking the Father today to grant us what grace we need to enter fully into the life of God, to live the life of the Son, doing the work of the Father who sent Him, as Jesus Himself did it. In essence, His hope is that we will become like Him, and just as He was sent by the Father and returned to Him when His work was finished, Jesus sends us and awaits us at the end of our labors. Yesterday we read that we do not belong to this world but to God; today, specifically, Jesus tells us something that ought to change our life forever:
“Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me.”
Brothers and sisters we not only belong to God, but the perfect Father gave us, of all things in existence, as a gift to His only begotten Son. That Son, in turn, gave us as a gift to the world, but has not disowned us. Rather, He has told the Father that He will bring us back to Himself, all in the hope that we might come to know and enjoy the same love that He enjoys: the complete, total, overwhelming love of God the Father which He lavishes on His Son from all eternity. Knowing this, what have we to fear? Is there anything at all that we cannot accomplish for the sake of Christ? Can the Father who loves us with the same love with which He loves His Son, ever abandon us? We are loved—you are loved—with a love that existed before the creation of the world and will long outlast it, and just as nothing can separate the Father from the Son, neither shall we be parted from the love of Christ.