Seventh Sunday of Easter

22.05. 2023 | Homily

 

The readings for the Seventh Sunday of Easter are available HERE.

Many of us have a favourite story in the Gospels. What is yours? One I like is the story of the wedding in Cana, where Jesus changes water into wine. One phrase in that story which many people like is what Mary, the Mother of the Lord, says to the organisers after she tries to convince Jesus to help, when they run out of wine. She ignores Him and tells them, “Do what He tells you”. Like any good mother, she knows her Son will do what she asks. Mary’s words at the wedding in Cana have encouraged many Catholics to pray to her when they need help. They believe she will always pass on their request to Jesus. But don’t forget what Jesus says when He answers His mother: “Woman, my hour has not yet come”.

The story of the wedding in Cana is in the second chapter of the Gospel of John. The story we hear today is from the first part of chapter seventeen. The first thing Jesus says today, is this: “Father, the hour has come”. At the beginning of His life as a preacher and teacher, Jesus tells the woman who is closer to Him than any other human being that He is not yet ready to perform miracles: something important has not yet happened. It is important to know that John’s Gospel dedicates five chapters to what Jesus does and says at the Last Supper, on the evening before He dies on the Cross on Calvary. Up to this point, Jesus has been speaking to His disciples, but now He turns to His Father. Imagine you are there with Him and the disciples. He has been saying and doing some very important things. He tells you all to love each other, the way He has loved you. He takes off his outer clothing and gets on the floor to wash your feet, and tells you the best thing you could ever do is give your life for your friends. He also tells you that you must ask the Father to give you the Holy Spirit, who will guide you through the difficult times which are ahead. It must be hard for you to understand some of what Jesus is saying.

But now He starts praying to His Father. This is a solemn and serious moment. He starts by saying, “Father, the hour has come”. What does He mean? He asks the Father to glorify Him. Jesus has spent three years glorifying the Father, by revealing God’s powerful and dazzling presence in the world. In everything Jesus has done, including all His signs or miracles, Jesus has been pointing to God the Father, not to Himself. He has made Himself like a window, so that people could see Him, but they could also look through Him and see God the Father.

Jesus tells the Father in this amazing prayer that He has completed His task, which was to convince the disciples the Father has chosen to accept that He had been sent from the Father; He says: “now at last they know that all you have given me comes indeed from you…” and they “have believed that it was you who sent me”. Jesus tells the Father that He has given eternal life to the ones the Father had entrusted to Him. And what is that eternal life? It “is this: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus whom you have sent”. I asked you to imagine being in that room listening to Jesus say all of this. By saying it to God the Father, Jesus is also telling His disciples and us, gathered here in this Church this morning, that He has done what the Father sent Him to do – He has made the Father known to His disciples, the people whom the Father entrusted to Him.

“The hour has come”. We know that, twenty-four hours later, Jesus will be dead and He will have been buried. The disciples in the Upper Room do not know that. So imagine being with those people who hear Jesus praying to the Father, saying that the time has come for the Father to glorify His Son so that the Son may glorify His Father. We know what a horrible shock awaits the disciples, but, at the same time, we can be confident that Jesus has done what the Father sent Him to do. In the garden, He will beg the Father to take the cup of suffering away, but that will not happen. He will die on the Cross. But that is not the end of the story of Jesus. He will rise again, and that is what we have been celebrating since Easter. Like the disciples, we have been excited by the stories of people meeting Him since He rose from the dead. But we also share their fears and doubts, and we are not always sure how we should tell the world that Jesus is Risen. Jesus knew that would be the case, so He has told His disciples, and He tells us, to ask the Father to give us the Holy Spirit, who will show us how to do what Jesus asks us. Jesus revealed the presence of God’s power to His disciples, and He has commanded His disciples – including us – to reveal his powerful presence to everyone, everywhere. It is time for us to take over, because He has returned to the Father.

Fr. Peter

 

 

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