Seventh Sunday of Easter
Acts 1:15-17 & 20-26; 1 Jn 4:11-16; Jn 17:11-19 (Year B)
“God is love and anyone who lives in love lives in God, and God lives in him.” The first letter of St John is a profound reflection on the lived experience of the Resurrection. To profess with our lips that Christ is risen is not enough. We must also confess that he is alive in those who, however inadequately, put their faith in him.
Our faith falters and is frequently challenged by life’s changing circumstances. Like John, we should not be discouraged. We do not stand alone in our frailty: “We can know that we are living in him and he is living in us because he lets us share his Spirit.”
Within the context of John’s letter, the Spirit that we share can be none other than the Spirit of God’s transforming love. This is the Spirit in which the Father has loved the Son before time began, the Spirit that breathed life into creation, the Spirit in which the Father sent his Son as the Saviour of the world. This love, shared within us, has the power to overcome sin’s innate selfishness. It opens our hearts to the joy that we share with God and in each other.
John’s Gospel, in its account of the prayer of Jesus on the night before he died, embraces us with the same assurance: “Holy Father, keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us.”
As the prayer unfolds, Jesus acknowledged that the love to which we are called would face many challenges, both from a sinful world and its persistent claims: “I passed your word on to them, and the world hated them, because they belong to the world no more than I belong to the world.”
The world that Jesus condemns is not the world that shows forth the glory of the Lord, but a sinful world that is turned in on itself.
The world to which Jesus invites us is a world created in the Father’s love and consecrated in the loving truth of Christ’s life, death and Resurrection. Thus he prayed: “Consecrate them in the truth. Your word is truth.” Our lives become holy as they are held in this loving and gentle truth. “I have sent them into the world, and for their sake I consecrate myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth.”
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