In these days between Ascension (the 40th day after Easter and when we celebrate Jesus’ ascension to Heaven) and Pentecost, we gather with the disciples in the upper room, waiting for the spirit to transform the church around the world. In today’s gospel Jesus prays for his followers and for their mission in his name. Amid religious, social, and economic divisions, we seek the unity that Jesus had with his Father. Made one in baptism, we go forth to live our faith in the world, eager for the unity that God intends for the whole human family.
Readings and Psalm
Jesus’ companions at prayer after his departure
Sing to God, who rides upon the clouds
1 Peter 4:12-14; 5:6-11
God will sustain and restore those who suffer
Christ’s prayer for his disciples
In Jesus’ prayer found in John, he speaks not only from the perspective of the risen and ascended one, but as the Word of God, now made flesh. It is as if Jesus has already ascended “to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God” (John 20:17), and has returned to tell us something vital. We learn that we no longer have to speculate about the nature of God. God’s purposes and love are made known in Jesus. But we also learn about ourselves. Jesus’ prayer frequently mentions the “world” — the world at once hostile to God and god’s anointed, and yet also beloved of God (John 3:16). With Jesus’ commissioning today we have our work to do , to make God known in and through Christ Jesus. The living One works through us as “words within the world,” who no longer seek meaning among the dead, but are empowered to make known the vibrant, new reality of Easter.