The Prayer of Jesus
OTHER HOMILY SOURCES from Claretian Communications Foundation
2016 May 12, 2016
REFLECTION: The background of today’s first reading is this. For many long centuries in Israel there was no belief in a real and positive afterlife, in a Heaven of bliss in God’s company. The Jews were convinced that after death everybody went down to the Sheol, a dark and gloomy place situated in the middle of the earth. This belief is all the more surprising that, living more than 400 years in Egypt, they were exposed to the Egyptians’ belief in an afterlife lived with the gods and which was a pleasant continuation of the present life. Perhaps the Jews resisted these beliefs precisely because they were pagan beliefs…
At any rate this rejection of a happy afterlife continued until the 2nd century B.C., when the death of many martyrs convinced Daniel (12:1-3) and others (2 Mac 12:38-46) that these martyrs deserved to live with God forever. But at the time of Jesus the more conservative Jews (the Sadducees) who accepted only the Pentateuch as Scripture, still rejected the idea of a blissful afterlife. And Paul, as we see in today’s first reading, astutely uses this doctrinal rift between Pharisees and Sadducees to save himself from prison.
To know that a happy afterlife awaits us is one of our greatest blessings indeed.
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2017 June 01, 2017
We almost always welcome prayers made in our behalf. It gives us a sense of being special and cared for when someone prays for us. More so if the person who does it is someone we esteem and look up to. Today’s gospel speaks of Jesus praying in behalf of His believers. He cares deeply for them as evidenced by His prayerful petitions to the Father. Being with them is not enough for Him. He has to ask the Father for a special boon to those He claims as His own.
Perhaps we can learn a page or two at how Jesus treats His people. He looks at them as friends, worthy of His time, worthy of His trust. And He cares passionately for their welfare. He thinks of them even if they are not around. No wonder He was able to form a bond so deep that not even hunger, famine or the sword could separate them from His love.
2018 May 17, 2018
May they all be one, as you Father Are in me and I am in you Israel’s two sets of religious authorities: the Sadducees were a hereditary line of priests who offered sacrifice in the Temple in Jerusalem; the Pharisees were lay men, experts of the Torah, the Law of Moses, who taught in synagogues all over Israel. The Sadducees denied belief in the resurrection; the Pharisees upheld belief in such. No intellectual argumentation will prove the veracity of the resurrection save the encounter with the Risen Lord. Without the resurrection our Christian faith collapses. Our joy and confidence lie in the certainty of the resurrection of our Lord which he promises to share with us.
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