The Prayer of Jesus
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JESUS raised His eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to Your son, so that Your son may glorify You, just as You gave Him authority over all people, so that He may give eternal life to all You gave Him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know You, the only true God, and the one whom You sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified You on earth by accomplishing the work that You gave Me to do. Now glorify Me, Father, with You, with the glory that I had with You before the world began.
“I revealed Your name to those whom You gave Me out of the world. They belonged to You, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they know that everything You gave Me is from You, because the words You gave to Me I have given to them, and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from You, and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for the ones You have given Me, because they are Yours, and everything of Mine is Yours and everything of Yours is Mine, and I have been glorified in them. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to You.”
2007 Today’s gospel reading presents the first third of a sublime prayer of Jesus on behalf of all His present and future followers. Since the 16th century, it has been called the High-Priestly Prayer, because in it Jesus speaks of Himself as a priest about to offer a sacrifice. In His case, of course, the sacrifice He offers is His own life. In this prayer, Jesus speaks directly to His Father in the presence of the apostles, thus intentionally giving them a glimpse into His relationship with His Father. The occasion is solemn and strangely moving.
One of the things Jesus says in this prayer – and He says it twice, once at the beginning and once at the end – is this formula: “I revealed Your name.” Here, of course, the name stands for the person, as is often the case in Semitic thought. Jesus is therefore saying that essentially His mission consists in making perceptible, understandable, manifest the reality of the Father through what He says, does, and is. Jesus’ task is to make the Father transparent, as it were. John has a marvelous verb he uses in the Prologue of His gospel in this connection. He writes: “The only Son… has revealed Him” – exégésato, the verb from which are derived the English terms exegete and exegesis. In other words, Jesus is the “exegete” of the Father, the one who explains the Father as a teacher explains a difficult text.
An example of this work of Jesus is very simple. Think of the Parable of the Prodigal Son. In itself alone, that story tells in a nutshell what kind of God is our God. He is a loving Father. Nothing else. He is our Father.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328
2009 Give glory to your son: This is the Lord’s high-priestly prayer in which he is simultaneously priest and victim. It is also a prayer of consecration on behalf of those for whom the sacrifice is offered—the disciples and all who will come to faith through their testimony. After holding communion with his disciples, Jesus now holds communion with his Father on their behalf. While this is his prayer of consecration in view of his impending sacrifice on the cross, he at the same time accepts the sacrifice. As high priest, he is engaged on their behalf at the Father’s right hand.
By his own testimony, his hour has come: “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified” (Jn 12:23). Now he prays that he may indeed be glorified by the Father. He prays that he may accept the cross, the vehicle of that glory, so that he can give glory to the Father in turn. He will glorify the Father by doing his will, by enduring the cross, and by fulfilling the Father’s purpose of blessing for many by means of that cross.
Antiquity has always attached great value to the concepts of honor, distinction, esteem, and glory. The classic word for glory (Greek doxa) originally meant “opinion” (derived from dokeo) or a well-informed reputation or renown. It is closely associated with time (honor) which is a distinguished quality that is readily evident in a person.
The Greek Bible—the Septuagint—gave a technical meaning to doxa. It came to mean honor or glory intended for God. It referred to the majesty and eminence which radiated from God’s own being. It was linked with the Hebrew concept of kabod, the visible manifestation of God’s power. God himself could not be seen, but his radiance—as that of a fire or light—could be experienced (Ex 16:7; Dt 5:24). Hence, the glory of God was apparent at the Tabernacle (Ex 40:34) and the Temple of Solomon (1 Kgs 8:11) with the light or fire that overshadowed the place.
In his Gospel, John develops the concept that Jesus is the glory of God made apparent in Israel once more. He mentions doxa/doxazein 41 times. He highlights that Jesus dwelt in the glory of the Father before the Incarnation (Jn 1:1-18), and that during Jesus’ earthly mission this glory is still visible (Jn 1:14; 8:54). In today’s Gospel reading, which is Jesus’ Priestly Prayer, when Jesus asks to be “glorified,” it is not for his own sake, for the glory of the Son and of the Father is one and the same (Jn 12:28; 13:31).
2012 I Pray For them. The Gospel is called Jesus’ priestly prayer. Jesus prays that his disciples will remain faithful to, and united with, the Father. Since he will be returning to the Father while his disciples will remain in the world, Jesus prays that they be given strength and courage to carry the cross and fulfill the Father’s will. Jesus also prays for the unity of his disciples, that they may be one just as Jesus is one with the Father.
We encounter problems, experience crises, undergo trials, and bear our crosses. The prayer of Jesus does not offer an easy way out of those problems, an escape from troubles, or the avoidance of the cross. His prayer gives us the glorious means to solve our problems, the inner strength to live our life for God, and the courage to face and conquer our trials.
Jesus prays that we do not isolate ourselves from others. We belong to the family of God. We have to work hard to build community.
What do you think are Jesus’ prayers and wishes for you?
2013 I PRAY FOR THEM. In the cenacle, after his farewell address to the disciples, Jesus turns to the heavenly Father in prayer, the longest in the Gospels. It is a family prayer because his disciples are his family. It is a parting prayer because Jesus will soon leave them to return to the Father. It is a priestly prayer because Jesus intercedes for them just as the priests in the Old Testament interceded for the people of Israel before God in the sanctuary or in the temple.
Jesus prays to God as no other human being prays: with directness, simplicity, and intimacy. By his manner of praying, we are allowed to glimpse at the mysterious relationship between the Father and the Son. His way of praying reveals Jesus as the Son of God.
It is indeed consoling to know that our friends and our loved ones pray for us. But there is nothing more consoling than knowing that Jesus himself prays for us.
Pray for your family. Pray for persons who hold important responsibilities in the community and in the Church.
2016 I pray for them. After speaking to his disciples at the end of the Last Supper, Jesus turns to his Father. He offers a prayer of praise and thanksgiving as the climax of his earthly life, “the hour” has come—the Cross. At this solemn moment, as he is about to enter into his passion, Jesus prays not so much for himself as for his disciples, for his friends, for us. He knows that all those who will follow him will have to face difficulties, persecutions, and major problems that could discourage them. He does not pray that they be taken out of this dangerous world or that they escape those difficulties. As he faces rejection, ridicule, persecution, suffering, and even death, his disciples will follow and will not be spared from walking the way he travels. There is no Christianity without the Cross! There is no Easter victory without Good Friday. There is no detour around Golgotha. And so Jesus prays that as he will attain victory, his disciples, as also we, will face all difficulties and be victorious in the end.
Jesus prayed for you and me! Do we pray for those who face life’s difficulties and problems?
SOURCE: “366 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328
2017 I pray for them. The Gospel begins Jesus’ long prayer at the Last Supper. Since the 16th century, this has been called the High Priestly Prayer. In truth, in his public ministry, Jesus never claims priestly dignity nor are priestly functions attributed to him. The letter to the Hebrews explains: “It is clear that our Lord arose from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests” (7:14). Nonetheless, the same letter calls Jesus our High Priest, not in the order of Levitical priests but “according to the order of Melchizedek”—by virtue of “the power of a life that cannot be destroyed” through his death and glorification (Heb 7:16-17). Now in heaven, our High Priest intercedes for us before God’s throne.
At the Last Supper, Jesus speaks as intercessor, with words addressed directly to the Father. As the priests in Israel interceded for the people, so Jesus prays for the disciples whom he is leaving behind as he is about to return to the Father. He prays for his immediate and future disciples because he knows that his mission to reveal God will be carried out from generation to generation. As he is sent by the Father, so he sends his disciples, and many more will be sent in his name in the future. As the heavenly High Priest, he intercedes for all those who reveal the Father’s name to the world.
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328
2018 The hour has come
The priestly prayer of Jesus begins, “Father, the hour has come.” We may rephrase it, “Father, the time has come.” This time is the time for Jesus to be glorified. To glorify Jesus is to give him the highest honor and respect. Jesus does not glorify himself; his Father gives him glory. It is the culmination of all of Jesus’ work on earth. There will be no heroic act greater than his crucifixion.
This final act of salvation is now, not some other time. Jesus asks the Father to glorify him now, to allow him to die now. Jesus gives his motivation: so that he can give eternal life to his followers. Jesus also clarifies the meaning of eternal life: knowing God the Father, as he has known him.
In his prayer, the ball has started rolling. Jesus is more than ready to go. It will not take more than a day to finish everything to pave the way for a new beginning.
The protagonists of the new beginning will be his disciples. They have been entrusted to him by the Father. They have proven to be ready by now, because they know whatever Jesus expects them to know. They are also ready to continue his work, with the guidance of the Spirit.
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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328
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