Eucharistic Readings for the Seventh Week of Easter: Year C
“Jesus prayed for his disciples, and then he said. “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.” (John 17:20 and 21)
Jesus prays not only for those standing with him more than 2000 years ago, but also for us today who have come to believe through their teachings and tradition of worship. The story of Jesus is the greatest hand-me-down gift we could ever receive or give. And, to believe in order that we all might be one with our Lord Jesus, is life-saving and redeeming.
As we continue to follow the apostles and disciples of Jesus, their words continue on from Jerusalem, through the Church in Rome, and for us, on the Episcopal path, through England, to and through, Christ Church Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We have the Gospel words of Matthew, Mark and John. And we have Paul, Peter, James and others. I didn’t forget about Luke but he did not know Jesus personally as did those I named. Luke, like us today, is a recipient of the original follower’s words in which we too come to believe just as Jesus prayed that “also on behalf of [us] who will believe in me through their word, that [we] may all be one.” These sacred words are still being passed on to us and from us to those put in our path today.
We are a mouth to ear people. We talk about our Lord Jesus and we try as best we can to follow him. It is by word and deed that we show who we are. The Word of Jesus is to Love God and love our neighbor as Jesus loved us. And Jesus loved us to death. So too we are called to love others in the same way, to death. I will confess there are people that I am willing to lay my life down for. I will also say that the more people that are in danger, the more likely I am to give my life, and yes, especially children. I enlisted in the Marines and was sent to many hazardous clime and places during my 30 years on active duty. It could have cost me my life for this nation. And I understood that. This weekend we remember all who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this nation.
As long as I am confessing, let me say that I know some people that I will not give my life for. I have (perhaps wrongly) judged them not worthy because of what I have observed of them. I have looked upon their addiction, their lack of compassion for others; their hatred of those different than themselves. I am not Jesus. Jesus would still die for those I think unworthy. I don’t think I would die for a child abuser or murderer. I don’t think I would die for a dictator bent on the annihilation of another country. I’m not Jesus. Jesus loves each and every one of us to death. I struggle with my lack of desire to be more like Jesus. Sadly, I don’t think I even want to be that much like Jesus. I am not proud of how I feel. I am being very honest. Jesus, God Incarnate, loves all people, without exception. As for me, I have heard the Word and I do believe. I pray that even I too will be included in the One with our Lord Jesus and the Creator. And I pray the same for you.
As we listen to what the Spirit is saying to us, let us live to love, to serve, and to teach, while pondering anew what the Almighty can do. John