HOMILY, SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER
1Acts 1:12-14, Psalm 27:1.4.7-8(R.13), 1 Peter 4:13-16, Accl John 14:18. Gospel John 17:1-11a
THEME: JESUS PRAYER OF RECOMMENDATION
“Now they know that everything that have given me is from you; for I have given them the words which you gave me, and they have believed them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you did send me. I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours; all are mine are yours and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them.”
Today is communication Sunday. According to Oxford Advanced Learner Dictionary, “it is a process of expressing ideas and feelings or of giving people information.” Communication is the oil of effective relationship. It is what makes relationship work. It helps us to understand one another. Anyone who in words or deeds does not open himself or herself up to communication cannot go well with people. The best of all communication is done in prayer. In Jesus prayer of recommendation, we see the understanding that existed between him and his disciples.
The above passage is a sample of a letter of recommendation. Here, we see Jesus saying that he can vouch for his disciples. He stood for them as a guarantor before his heavenly Father. He has tested them and trusted them with the gospel message. He has played his own roles in their life. It is clear that no one can stand for who he does not believe in him. Discipleship is about sincere followership and obedience to the master. A disciple must cherish his master’s history and be ready to pass the knowledge he learnt from the master across to others. A disciple communicates freely with the master and can easily speak his mind even when he is not present.
After the ascension of Christ, all the disciples gathered together and went up to the upper room in obedience to the Lord’s instruction. And the promise of the Father would come to them in that place of prayer. The time we share together in prayer is very precious. The promise of Jesus is to his church and the gifts the Spirit which the Lord will give are for the growth of the body of Christ. So, the unity of the body is most essential. No one has the fullness of the spirit. No one can use his gifts alone for himself. You minister to others and others would minister to you. “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” [John 17:9] Jesus knows those who are his. He knows those who deserve the favours from his Father.
Moreover, there is no way we can enjoy the presence of the Lord, there is no we can live in the light of his presence without being in love with one another. Every house or family that does not give room for peaceful-coexistence cannot enjoy the beauty of God’s presence. Jesus wants to see the people he recommended to live in unity. He wants them to live according to the law of love. He has special packages for them as a family.
Our strength to stand above our challenges comes mostly from our shared experience. The power of God cannot work in us in isolation. Iron sharpens iron. As family of Christ, it is more relieving to bear our burdens together. “Rejoice in so far as you share Christ’s suffering, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:13. Let us not give up our hope in the midst of our difficulties.
If there is love, it easy to share our burden with our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord. Let us share our relationship problems, our marriage problems and business issues with our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord so that they can be our pillars of support. Coming together, we pray, and reminded ourselves of the instructions of the Lord and his promises to us. These in turns strengthen our faith in the faces of our inevitable crisis in the world. The name “Christian” is an edge we have if truly we are Christians. “Yet if one suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but under that name let him glorify God” 1Peter 4:16.
The disciples were in one accord. We too must learn how to live with others. We must learn how to sustain our relationship with others. Anyone who talks us into despising the body of Christ, the church is depriving us of the Lord’s blessings. The person is ridding us of Jesus recommendation. There some people, who on account of a misunderstanding they had with a church member or a priest, decide to shun the church and all she stands for. That is a big mistake. Your brethren in faith are gifts to you. A particular person may simply not satisfy your longing at a given point in time. Don’t give up on him or her. Jesus is all. Your priests represent Jesus, the mediator between us and the Father. He is the centre of our unity and our pass to heaven. Don’t allow anyone, even a priest himself, to disconnect you from heaven.
Let us seek to be united in prayer with our fellow brethren in the Lord. Let us believe that the grace of God is enough to handle our challenges. Let us make ourselves worthy of the Lord’s prayers
I love you Lord. Kindly increase my zeal to be in your presence, to tarry with you in prayer. For in your presence, there is sweetness. In your presence is there is peace. May I always draw strength from you that I may be able to face my life challenges. Make me worthy of your promises. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Jesus I love you, all I am is yours, yours I am and yours I want to be, do with me whatever you will.