The Father’s Word is Truth
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from SVD Bible Diary
2004 One of the most painful human experiences is being abandoned by someone who is so dear to us. When a mother tells her child: “Behave or else I will leave you,” the child cries terribly. According to some psychologists the feeling of the child at that moment is like death. That is why psychologists discourage such form of punishment in disciplining children. When as children they always experience abandonment, as grownups they will cling to their friends or husbands or wives, even if they are being exploited and humiliated. I remember a battered wife who told her husband: “Hit me as much as you want just don’t leave me.” A review of her background revealed that she grew up with a single parent who always abandoned her when she was a child.
Our Lord Jesus Christ knew the pain and the feeling of insecurity of being abandoned. That is why in the gospel reading He made a very touching prayer for His disciples before He left them. He asked His Father to keep them in His name. “Name” here does not only mean the name given to a person but also refers to his/her uniqueness. According to scholars the uniqueness of the Father that His disciples would be kept in His Father’s love and never be abandoned in spite of who they are, what they have been and wherever they will be. And the disciples will experience the same love as Jesus received from His Father. Experiencing oneness with God will make our joy completed and will give a feeling of total security. St. Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians: “If God is with us who can be against us.” Our parents might abandon us, our best friends might betray us, our brothers and sisters might reject us but there is somebody who will never abandon us our loving Father who loves us unconditionally. (Fr. Titus Mananzan, SVD Bible Diary 2004)
2005 During the Lenten Season, we remember the Siete Palabras or Seven Last Words of Christ. In this week, as we prepare for Pentecost, the evangelist John gives us the Prayer of Christ supposedly during the Last Supper. While John may not have narrated the institution of the Eucharist the way the Synoptic authors did, he instead give us a more dynamic last supper such that Jesus bares out the contents of His heart. Herein we have a good model of meals where what is shared is not only the food at table. The dialogue and exchange of persons about what they really have inside of them likewise becomes very important. It is in this context that meals become more than simply physically significant. Meals become life-giving and meaning-giving experiences as well. The other at table is not simply someone eating the food with us but also feeding us with something very relevant to Him.
Today Christ shares His concern for the Apostles when He meets His fate at the cross. “I do not ask you to take them out of the world but that you keep them from the evil one.” A prayer for our protection He did ask the Father. I remember Fr. Joe Panabang, SVD missionary to Ghana, Africa, narrate about his being taunted by some non-Catholics about the Eucharist he was celebrating. At the Eucharistic celebration, the taunting became even louder to the point that those who were taunting them failed to look at the steps they were taking towards the roadway canal.
The protection Christ gives is already bestowed in Baptism. We also need to remember that when we receive Christ in the Eucharist, we continue to have him with us, protecting us like a Big Brother warding off the evil one. He likewise is the Viaticum we receive before our last breath, leading and showing us the way to the Father. (Fr. Bernard Collera, SVD Bible Diary 2005)
2007 When the doors of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) closed, the passengers were alarmed by a boy shouting: “mama….mama.” The little boy was left behind by his mother. The incident reminds me of the psalmist’s keen description of God’s closeness to us. “If a mother forgets her child, never will I forget you.” St. Augustine affirms that we are loved by God more than we think of His love. He loves us more than we love ourselves. Theologians are comfortable in this expression ‘theology is anthropology.’ God is close to man, talking about God denotes talking about man.
Today’s gospel avers to our closeness to God. Jesus prays to the Father on our behalf. Even the familiar expression hindi natutulog ang Dios (God does not sleep) attests to a God who’s always on the watch or the prayer of a little child, “Perhaps Lord, you have no sleep for you are always preparing a new day for us. Thank you, O Lord.” But what is the sense of God’s love in our experience of evil, pain and suffering. Miserable people sigh: “Where are you Lord?” We must also remember that the prayer of Jesus cannot become effective if we are not cooperative. God’s grace, an experience of His love, necessitates human cooperation. God helps those who help themselves. Have we ever thought of pain and misery as consequences of our evil decisions? We are used to inducing pain upon ourselves.
Aware of the power of evil in us, let us allow God’s powerful love, the power of Jesus’ prayer, to help us feel God’s embrace. In this world of fear and trembling we can now stand with courage, for Jesus is praying for us. God never abandons His children. (Fr. Martin Mandin, SVD Bible Diary 2007)
2008 This chapter has been called the “High Priest Prayer” of Jesus since the sixteenth century. Jesus speaks as intercessor with words directly to the Father and not to the disciples. The prayer is one of petition for both immediate and future disciples. The gospel for today is for immediate disciples (vv. 20-21) and for future followers: “I pray not only for these but also for those who through their teaching will come to believe in me. May they all be one, just as Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also maybe in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.”
When Jesus uttered these prayers of Jesus, he looked on his earthly ministry, as a thing of the past: “While i was with them, I kept those you had given me true to your name. I have watched over them and not one is lost except one who was destined to be lost, and this was to fulfil the scriptures.” Yet, Jesus wished them to be with Him in union with the Father: “But how I am coming to you and i say these things in the world to share my joy with them to the full.”
This high priestly prayer of Jesus gives me an assurance to continue and persevere in my priestly-missionary-religious vocation knowing that Jesus already prayed for me! What a privilege! Jesus wants all of us to become one. In James 5:16, it says: “The earnest prayer of a righteous man has great power and wonderful results.” Instead of just relying on my prayer to God, I rely heavily on the high priestly prayer of Jesus. Knowing that His earnest prayer has great power and wonderful results! Yes, may all be one in God and in Jesus. (Fr. Glenn Paul Gomez, SVD Bible Diary 2008)
2009 Whenever someone asks me for prayers, I pray right away for the person requesting for prayers and for his/her intentions. I even do so during a lull in our conversation or just as I am leaving that person. I have learned this secret from St. Arnold Jansen. St. Arnold said that it is better that you pray for the person right away lest you forget the person’s request if you do it at another time. Growing in age now, i surely cannot trust my memory and thus St. Arnold’s style, if i can call it such, certainly fits me.
Being a priest, I have been asked countless of times by people to pray for them and their intentions you must have been asked the same by people you know. It is a great feeling to know that other people are praying for us aside of course from praying for ourselves. But could you imagine God himself praying for you? Well, let us read today’s gospel once again and see Jesus asking the Father that we be protected from the evil one. The very idea of Jesus praying for us is astounding, to say the least. But it is true and it shows how deep the love of God is, and the compassion of Jesus is for each of us. (Fr. Emmanuel Menguito, SVD Bible Diary 2009)
2016 May 11, 2016 Wednesday
Today’s Gospel contains the prayer of the merciful Jesus to the Father to defend and take good care of us in his behalf. But this prayer of the Lord will be completed when we do our part. That is why at the same time, the gospel reminds us that each one of us has the responsibility to believe by observing the values that Jesus taught us. As Christians, we believe in good and evil, and we always choose the good, because we believe in what is right. The first letter of St. John 4:15 tells us, “Those who confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God remains in them and they in God.” It is an invitation to each one of us that if we put our faith in Christ, and in His love, we are brought into the fellowship with God. If we recognize that Jesus is God, if we receive in our hearts His words and put them into practice, we can reach the fullness of life.
In today’s world that is far advanced and commercialized, many Christians have never fully committed their lives to Jesus Christ. They feel empty because they persist to have their own way of living. Many are vague and uncertain about their spiritual states; some are negligent and others are spiritually lazy. As a Christian in the modern world, what can I do to ful ll the prayer of Jesus in my life, in my family and in my community? (Fr. Aureenhor Ian Nercua, SVD | Argentina Bible Diary 2016)
2018 In his Daily Homilies, Fr. Mark Link SJ, shared a legend that says, “When Jesus ascended into heaven, the angel Gabriel asked Him if all the people knew about God’s love for them.” “Oh no,” said Jesus, “just a handful of people do.”
The angel Gabriel was shocked and replied, “But Lord, what if this handful of people let you down? What if they meet with opposition and become discouraged? Don’t you have a backup plan just in case?”
“No,” said Jesus, “I’m counting on them not to let me down.”
In the end, we may ask ourselves: “How is Jesus’ expectation being realized in me?” (Fr. Fred G. Mislang SVD, Bible Diary 2018)
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