The Prayer of Jesus
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from SVD Bible Diary
2002 ….Jesus, true to His promise continues to pray for us and He prays that like Him and the Father, we all may be one. If unity is the objective of His prayer for us, then we have terribly failed Him with our division, with so many different Christian churches, sects and denominations.
We therefore humbly join Jesus in His unity prayer and continue with St. Paul the journey through the most trying with the goal of bringing the world, to the unity Jesus so desires: unity with the Father and unity with each other. (Fr. Carlos Lariosa, SVD Bible Diary 2002)
2004 Baula, a very old man I encountered in one of my home visitations asked me with much concern: “Why is it that people say, ‘we believe in one and the same God’ but we have so many different Christian churches, sects and denominations and worse, each one tries to destroy and outwit one another?” This situation and many more, like broken homes, divided communities and warring nations show us a picture of disunity and division. They mirror the truth that indeed, in our earthly lives, we have not yet fully experienced the reality of the intimate relationship between the Father and the Son.
Jesus prays that we may be one as He and Father are one. We are far from this dream but it is worth nothing that many individuals, groups and communities work to make the dream a reality. The challenge is great, for it means grappling with individualism, competition for profit, power, prestige and other worldly values which lure us from what is essential and lasting. But with Jesus who longs for our unity with Him and Father as well as our unity with one another, we humbly pray that we may enter more deeply into the love-relationship of God and move on to concretely live out this unity wherever we are, in our being and doing, always joyful of the glory we share with Jesus. (Sr. Patricia, SSpS Bibble Diary 2004)
2005 After a few days of listening and praying for the various petitions of the sisters during their daily Mass in one religious convent, i could no longer help but to remark to one sister: “Sister, it is so nice that you remember in your petitions the poor, the sick, the victims of fire, disasters and the various problems affecting our country. However, I have never heard you include the priest-celebrant in your daily petition.” What is my point of saying so.?
The point is we all want to be remembered and included in prayer at all times. A heart that is constantly remembered in prayer is not only a heart filled with joy and grace, but also a heart that is almost on the doorstep of heaven.
In today’s gospel, a n excerpt from the “Priestly Prayer” made at the Last Supper, Jesus remembered and prayed aloud for His disciples to His Father: “Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you….”
With so little time left, Jesus could have prayed more for Himself than for others. But then he was not the kind of person like many of us who usually think first of our personal interests and needs rather than others. Jesus prayed much not only for His disciples, but also for all believers that they learn to love each other, just as “He and His Father in heaven love each other.”
Have you ever asked anyone to pray for you? Do you appreciate the value of prayer for others? Who do we prioritize in our prayers? Let us not be selfish in our prayer. Jesus invites us to remember the concerns, anxieties, struggles, worries and even the conversion of others to be included in our prayers to God. Praying for others means that we are one in heart, one in our daily problems and one in our hopes for better life. Can you now say a silent prayer for someone who is badly in need at this moment? (Fr. Gerry Donato, SVD Bible Diary 2005)
2007 In the gospel today, Jesus agonized and prayed before His arrest and death on the cross. His prayer gives us a glimpse of the heart of Jesus as He was leaving His disciples. This traumatic experience could be akin to a dying mother uttering her last words to her grieving children.
Bouts of loneliness, isolation and even meaninglessness, are inevitable but Jesus showed us the way. His prayer of unity reverberates throughout the universe and if allowed to sink into our inmost hearts produces hope, love, joy and the fulfilment of God’s plan. We are not alone. (Fr. Ben Limsuan, SVD Bible Diary 2007)
2008 Two years ago, we organized the Asian Feast in Berlin as part of our 20th anniversary celebration. Many guests, especially from Asia, attended this event dubbed as “Experience Asia.” Indeed, it was a meaningful cultural, spiritual and culinary journey through Asia’s colourful traditions in songs and dances. One of the highlights of this event was interreligious prayer. Religious leaders from Vietnam, Indonesia, Germany and the Philippines responded to our invitation. One imam, four priests and two bishops were present. Bishop Precioso Cantillas of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) and Auxiliary Bishop Wolfgang Weider of the Archdiocese of Berlin prayed with us in different languages for unity, peace and understanding.
The international on that summer afternoon reminded me of Jesus in today’s gospel who also prayed for the same prayed for the same purpose: unity. The Priestly Prayer is one of the few prayers of Jesus recorded in Holy Scriptures. At the end of His ministry, Jesus summarized His task with a prayer of unity: “…that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you.” The union of Jesus with the Father is the ultimate bond of lasting unity and love.
Jesus addressed His Father in this prayer as if He was just talking to another person in front of Him. His prayer alone showed that in His oneness with the Father, He can open His heart and express His supplication with intensity and passion. The intensity of that interreligious prayer in Berlin made us feel that God in His many names was indeed present with us, praying for the unity of all peoples – regardless of color, religion, language or nationality. (Fr. Adonis Narcelles, SVD Bible Diary 2008)
2012 In a summer camp in San Jose, Mindoro, when we were giving a seminar on a group of farmers, there was a man who was an Iglesia ni Cristo member and who wanted to debate with us. One of the facilitators told him that he could have the debate the whole night with us but he would never convince us to become members of Iglesia ni Cristo nor could we convince him to become a Catholic again. We suggested to him that we just put into reality what Jesus Christ commanded us to do, that we love one another – regardless of what we believe in or aspire to be.
In the gospel reading our Lord Jesus prayed fervently that all maybe one just as the Father and Jesus are one.
I am sure that Jesus was not praying for uniformity in administration, organization, liturgical rites and worship, or ecclesiastical unity but rather a unity of personal relationship in love. It means a unity that would bind us in love for one another,, respect for each other’s beliefs and accepting people for what they are and not for what we want them to be.
What disunites us Christians is that we think we have the monopoly of truth. We criticize the form of worship other churches have, and we think we have the real relationship with God. Christian unity means going beyond all these differences and joining together in love. It is like the analogy. Of the existentialist philosopher Gabriel Marcel who said that Christian unity is like a symphony composed of different instruments but forming beautiful music.
As Divine Word missionaries we are trained to have a missionary attitude of prophetic dialogue with other religions, culture and the marginalized.
We believe that we do not have the monopoly of truth and that God is also present in other religions and different cultures and that everybody has a chance to be saved and be united with God (Fr. Titus Mananzan, SVD Bible Diary 2012)
2016 May 12, 2016 Thursday
“Please pray for me!” Very often we are requested by others to pray for them. As a priest, everyday I am asked by individuals to pray for their good health, fast recovery, success in exams or safe trip etc… Request for prayers is very common among us. Pope Francis also made this request when he was with the Yolanda survivors, “Please pray for me!” It is not only they who need his prayers and blessings but he also needs their prayers. Even St. Paul asks his ock to pray for him so that he may be safe and successful in his mission: “I urge you, friends, by our Lord Jesus Christ… join me in praying fervently to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that my service in Jerusalem may be acceptable to God’s people there” (Rom 15: 30-31).
We need to pray for one another. St. Paul gives us an example of praying for others: “I thank my God for you every time I think of you; and every time I pray for you all, I pray with joy” (Phil 1:3).
Praying for others is one of the noble acts of a true Christian. Yes, all of us are in need of prayers and we also need to support, console and help one another through our prayers. Praying for others is also one way of showing our love, care and concern for their well being.
In the gospel today, Jesus prays for his disciples. He prays for their safety and successful mission after he would leave them and go back to his Father. He knows that they are weak, worried and frightened. He earnestly intercedes for them with his Father and commends them to his mercy and protection. Jesus continues to do the same for you and for me. He knows that we too are weak, worried and frightened due to various vicissitudes of life. He earnestly intercedes for us his flock. St. John says, “…but if anyone does sin, we have someone who pleads with the Father on our behalf – Jesus Christ, the righteous one” (I John 1:1). (Fr. Deva Savariyappan, SVD | DWCB, Bangued, Abra Bible Diary 2016)
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