Seventh Sunday in Easter time – Year B

Posté par diaconos le 14 mai 2021

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# Mercy is a form of compassion for the misfortunes of others, to which is added the notion of generosity, of gratuitous goodness. It is one of the main duties of the believer, in Judaism as in other monotheistic religions. In the Abrahamic religions, mercy is a characteristic of God. For all Christian denominations, mercy is not innate in man: it is a divine quality that man possesses through God’s love and that is infused in him by the Holy Spirit in an inexhaustible form.

The Christian notion of divine mercy requires man to behave in the same way towards his neighbour, by performing « works of mercy ». There are seven such works: feeding the hungry; giving drink to the thirsty; clothing the naked; welcoming strangers; caring for the sick; visiting prisoners; burying the dead. The seven works of mercy, by Caravaggio (1607), Pio Monte della Misericordia in Naples. This doctrine has its origin in several passages of the Old Testament, in particular Deuteronomy20 , the Book of Ezekiel21 and the Book of Isaiah, in particular chapter 58.

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From the Gospel according to John

11 From now on I am not in the world; they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them together in your name, the name you have given me, that they may be one, as we are one. 12 When I was with them, I held them together in your name, the name you gave me. I watched over them, and not one of them went astray, except he who goes to his destruction, that the scripture might be fulfilled.

13 And now that I come to you, I say this in the world, that they may have my joy in them and be filled with it. 14 I have given them your word, and the world has taken them in hatred, because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest preserve them from the evil one.

16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in truth: thy word is truth. 18 As thou hast sent me into the world, so have I sent them into the world. 19 And I sanctify myself for them, that they also may be sanctified in truth.  «  (Jn 17, 11b-19)


Sin has divided men and separated them from God

« Preserve them and bring them into the eternal unity of the Father and the Son ! «   This was the great object of Jesus’ prayer for the disciples. Before asking for this grace, Jesus expressed their deep need for it, because He would abandon them and leave them without Him in this world, the enemy of God and His kingdom, where they encountered new dangers at every step.

Jesus is no longer with them in the world to guard them, and is not yet with God to protect them from the bosom of his heavenly glory. There is a painful interval during which his Father has to deal with this. (Godet)

Holy Father, said Jesus, with the profound feeling that the holiness of God, his eternal truth, his unchangeable love, is the absolute opposite of the falsehood and corruption which reign in the world, and from which God will preserve his own by making them partakers of this holiness by his Spirit. Keep them in thy name : this name is the expression of all the perfections which God will unfold in their favour to preserve them from evil.

his faithfulness he pledged to keep them to the end. The supreme purpose of this ardent supplication was that the disciples, all the disciples of Jesus, should be brought into that holy unity of life and divine love which is that of the Father and the Son.

Sin divided mankind and separated it from God, its centre and bond; the work and glory of the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ is to raise our humanity to the unity which the Son possesses with the Father. Jesus introduces us into this unity by communicating to us the Spirit of love that unites him to the Father, and it is in this profound sense that the knowledge of the Father and the Son is eternal life.

Son of perdition applied to the Antichrist, of whom Judas was the symbol and forerunner: what the latter did against the person of Jesus, he attempted against his kingdom. If Judas’ betrayal was the object of a divine prediction, this does not mean that this crime was not the free act of his will and that he should not bear all the responsibility for it. Once the evil was alive in his heart, God directed its effects in such a way that, according to his unfathomable wisdom, the salvation of the world resulted.

Nothing demonstrates Judas’ freedom and responsibility better than the numerous warnings Jesus gave him until the very last moment, to turn him back from his error and save him. If this disciple had listened to them and repented, even after his crime, he would have obtained forgiveness.

There is no one who, after committing an evil deed, does not have to say to himself: « I could have avoided it if I had wanted to ». Judas, despite the mystery of his existence, was no exception. The divine word which Jesus gave to his disciples separated them from the world and the corruption that reigned in it, and so the world hated them, hence the urgent need for them to be guarded, preserved from evil.

Jesus did not ask that they be taken out of the world, to be admitted into the glory into which Jesus entered, for they had their work to do in this world; but what he asked of God was that they be preserved from evil, and then that they be s◊anctified.

For the second time, Jesus presented to God this consideration that they were not of the world, as the reason for the grace he asked for. With what love and condescension Jesus equated his disciples with himself as not of the world! His charity covered what remained of the world in them; he saw it annihilated in advance by the word he gave them. He looked only at the gifts of his grace and forgot what was still opposed to it in them.

In support of this request, Jesus also gave two powerful reasons: « Sanctify them!  » The first is that he sent them into the world, which was full of temptations and sufferings for them, and the second is that he himself did the great work necessary for their sanctification.

The Old Testament sacrifices offered the idea of holiness in type and symbol; Jesus’ sacrifice actually produced it in all who joined Him in living communion. Jesus added: that they too may be sanctified in truth, truly, completely

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ St Beno’s Outreach : click here to read the paper → Seventh Sunday of Easter, Year B, 16th May 2021 

◊ Augustinian Friends : click here to read the paper →   Seventh Sunday of Easter Year B

  Gospel Striking message

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