Year B, The Seventh Sunday of Easter

Jesus raised His Eyes to Heaven

June 4, 2000


Ronald D. Curley

Text: The Holy Gospel According to Saint John 17:11-19

The eyes of Jesus are Holy.

He lifted his eyes to heaven and prayed the prayer that we all must hear with ears that are not dull of hearing, and see with eyes that are renewed in their understanding!

This is the prayer of the Great High Priest for us!

This is the prayer that we must hear, because its answer started to be placed into greater focus by Mother Church during the reigns of every Holy Father since Pope John 23rd. The Second Vatican Council renewed this great petition of our LORD and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As a former evangelical Protestant, I can see this so clearly, beloved of God.

There is such a co-mingling here of Jesus and Mary - the Holy Eucharist and the pillar of Mary, and the ship of the Church with the Holy Father at the helm, sails between those two pillars.

Pope Leo XIII proclaimed to the whole of creation that "The Church, the pillar and ground of truth (I Tim. 3:15) 'displays the light of true teaching to all peoples.' Like a ship on the high seas of this world, she stays preserve unharmed all on board, even if the world perishes." - Aeterni patris

As St. Don Bosco also dreamed of her, this ship that is guided by the Holy Father sails between the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary... surely Mother Church will be graced by God to come safely into the Home Port, when we see Jesus Face to face someday at the Consummation of all things we have ever and always hoped for in the Holy Creed of the Church!

Now, Jesus proclaims this prayer in order that we might have the insight to rely upon God's graces to proclaim the Gospel message until the unity of faith is achieved.

11 And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to thee. Holy Father, keep them in thy name, which thou hast given me, that they may be one, even as we are one.

God is One God. Triune God, Father, Son, Holy Spirit - One God.

Jesus asks that we might be kept in the Name of God - "that they may be one, even as we are one."

12 While I was with them, I kept them in thy name, which thou hast given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled.

13 But now I am coming to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

We cannot be sure that we understand how deeply these words go in their meaning. We can say that the greatest of Church minds have wrestled with the theology of the words of Jesus and we dare say that we have not scratched the surface of their complete meaning in the fullness of their depth!

Yet, we have what we need in the teachings of Mother Church. And, that is sufficient for me!

God graces us with these words and himself, because in God alone we have true Joy!

14 I have given them thy word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

No, we are not of this world. This world, the flesh and the devil - these are our enemies. One only needs to live with the Gospel for so long, and as the years pass by and the ravages of time and acids of modernity take their toll, God graces us with a good understanding that God ALONE is our Joy!

15 I do not pray that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one.

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

With Mary in the wilderness, we are given the desert as our place of refuge and we stay there as the remnant of her seed, brothers and sisters of Jesus, walking daily where Jesus walked, called to the vocation of true humility under the mighty hand of God. May we find ever more abundantly that "hermitage within" our souls where Jesus and Mary beckon us to love God will our whole being!

17 Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.

18 As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

Jesus suffered.

We must suffer.

The road of sanctification is through suffering and death to selfish motives.

It is to give up our lives, to renounce our own wills, to accept abjection if required (like brother Charles de Foucauld), to accept our crucifixion, to follow Jesus with little crosses on our shoulders, to be stripped and crucified with Christ - that is the only true road to Life - this is the Way, the Truth and the Life... and there we must go, if we are to see God.

St. Catherine of Genoa describes Purgatory in a way that makes us want to embrace it!

Are you not tired of sin and selfishness?

Are you tired of the ways of the world and want sanctity?

Yes, if we are people of faith, growing in the grace and knowledge of his Son, Jesus, we desire to love God above all things!

If we desire this Love of God above all things, then we must all accept the ultimate loss of all things that we might possess God alone!

Now, we are called to the vocation of Love... and humility.

God is Holy, therefore, he calls us to BE holy through the graces he gives to us through Immaculate Mary, the Mother of the Church - and these are God's graces to us!

How is their achieved?

Jesus said--

17 Sanctify them in the truth; thy word is truth.

18 As thou didst send me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.

19 And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

God sent his Son to suffer and die on a cruel Cross for you and me.

We accept this Gift Most Holy Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all the Churches of the world, and we adore thee, because by thy Holy Cross you have redeemed the world!

Let us not be dull in our hearing, our seeing - Let us put on the Lord Jesus Christ, like Mary did, assuming nothing for ourselves, but, becoming vessels for the service of God. Let us proclaim with Mary that -- Our souls magnify the Lord and rejoice in God our Savior!

Deus et Sanctissima.