John 17: 1-11
THESE words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
6 I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
7 Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
8 For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
9 I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
The Priestly Prayer of Jesus concludes the discourse of the Last Supper. Immediately afterwards, Jesus will be arrested, betrayed. Jesus prays to his Father in a very moving way. He offers to the Father the imminent sacrifice of himself, praying that his sacrifice may be acceptable to the Father, that his holy human nature may be glorified. Jesus’ prayer is spoken aloud, so that his disciples and we also may receive his last testament, as Jesus intercedes on our behalf with the Father.
The glory Jesus speaks of is threefold. God the Father is glorified, because Christ has made the Father known to us, completing God’s plan for our salvation. Christ is glorified, as his divinity is fully revealed, to be seen by many people following the Resurrection. We also may be glorified, as through Christ we have the opportunity to turn from sin and death to attain eternal life.
Through these verses, we hear once more of the obedience of the Son to the Father’s will, and too of the unity of the divine persons, a model for the call to unity among all Christians, until we find perfect unity with Christ in heaven.
Jesus is solicitous for his disciples. They have heard his teachings, they have witnessed his miracles, they have believed in him and kept his word. Through this, they have shown themselves truly children of God. Jesus is preparing to leave the world. He asks his Father to help his disciples, to guide them and keep them safe as they are sent to work in the world, to preach the Gospel. The disciples will face great difficulties, through all of which, Jesus asks that they remain united. This is a call for all time to Christian unity.
‘The Son glorifies you, making you known to all those you have given him. Furthermore, if the knowledge of God is life eternal, we the more tend to life, the more we advance in this knowledge… There shall the praise of God be without end, where there shall be full knowledge of God; and because in heaven this knowledge shall be full, there shall glorying be of the highest.’ St Augustine