Seventh Easter Sunday of year C

Posté par diaconos le 25 mai 2022

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Jesus said : « I am the bread of life ; whoever comes to me will not go hungry »

One of the themes of Christianity

# Salvation of the soul is one of the fundamental themes of Christianity. It provides access to heaven. Its study is called soteriology. In Christianity, salvation is associated with Christ, who is considered the redeemer of humanity; soteriology is therefore linked to Christology. In Catholicism, it is offered through grace, the sacraments and good works. In Protestantism and evangelical Christianity, it is offered through faith and grace alone. This notion covers a wide variety of topics, which have been more or less developed according to historical periods and Christian denominations.

In the 2nd century, Clement of Alexandria, one of the first Christians to master ancient classical philosophy, used many images to describe the salvation brought by Christ. He used the image of light that gives intelligence, or music that softens hearts. In the 4th century, Athanasius of Alexandria described salvation as the fact that God, Father, Son and Spirit, dwells in man, already in this life. Medieval theology left little room for human freedom: Thomas Aquinas tried to organise around Augustine’s thought a metaphysical system that reconciled grace and human freedom.

From the Gospel according to Jehovanni

At that moment, looking up to heaven, Jesus prayed thus : « Holy Father, I pray not only for those who are here, but also for those who will believe in me through their word. May they all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you. May they also be one in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. And I have given them the glory that you have given me, that they may be one, as we are one: I in them and you in me. That they may become perfectly one, that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them as thou hast loved me.

Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am and to see my glory, which you gave me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you and they have known that you sent me. I have made thy name known to them, and I will make it known, that the love with which thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. (Jn 17 1:20-26)

Jesus, the bread of life

Jesus, after praying for himself and his apostles, embraced in his supplication all those who believed in him and would be saved. The means by which those who were still in the darkness of ignorance and unbelief were brought to faith in Christ was the word of the apostles. This was the word of the apostles, and it was an impressive testimony given by Jesus. Jesus himself possesses the divine truth and authority of the apostolic word: it has the power to create in souls the faith that regenerates and saves them. The entire Christian Church came to know Jesus Christ and believed in him only because of this testimony, which will retain its value until the end of time.

The object of Jesus’ prayer for his Church was the union of all its members in the communion of the Father and the Son. This union, which he first asked for his disciples, he prayed for God to realise in all his children; they were to be one as the Father and the Son are one, they were all to be united with Christ and, through him, with God. Hence this profound word: one in us, which elevates all the redeemed to the eternal glory that Jesus won for them. This part of Jesus’ prayer reveals the nature of his Church. He came to unite, reconciling with God, the souls that sin had divided. The bond of this union is the same as the ineffable harmony of the Father and the Son: « As you, Father, are in me and I in you ».

But this union, founded on communion with God through Christ, must not and cannot remain invisible; it necessarily manifests itself externally, and it is precisely this holy union of souls, in faith and love, that must be a dazzling testimony to all that Jesus is the one sent by God. It is above all through this union that souls are drawn to Christ and believe in him. Indeed, from the earliest times of the Church, it was the most powerful means of persuasion for the world : « Every day they were all together in the temple, they broke bread in the houses and took their food with joy and simplicity of heart, praising God and finding favour with all the people. And the Lord added those who were saved to the Church every day (Acts 2,  46-47).

The exhortations to maintain this union of souls in love, which fill John’s writings, also appear frequently in the writings of the Apostle Paul (Rom 12, 4-6; 1 Co  12:12, Eph 4:1-6; Ph 2, 1-5). Jesus, confident that he would be heard, recalled what he had already done to raise his redeemed to the perfect unity he had asked for them. And I,’ he said, ‘have given them the glory that you have given me. This glory, which exegetes have tried to explain in so many different ways, is none other than the eternal glory that the Son of God possesses as Son and object of the Father’s eternal love, the glory into which he has entered. He has given it, not only revealed or promised it, but already communicated it to his redeemed, making them also the object of God’s love and making them children of the Father.

This glory is fully contained in the word of grace that they have received and that has been assured to them by virtue of the faith that unites them to Jesus. Until the end of time, in fact, they fully possess him. This glory, which contains eternal life and implies communion with God, necessarily constitutes the unity that Jesus so beautifully describes in these words. Christ living, thinking, loving, and acting in his disciples, as the Father lives, thinks, loves, and acts in him, such is the perfect unity of souls with Christ and with God, and thus their mutual unity. Jesus Christ is the envoy, the representative of God himself on earth, and therefore such love poured out among men can only be the outpouring of God’s own love. There is a profound revelation of God’s love for all in the words : ‘You loved them as you loved me’.

Jesus asked for the perfect realisation of this glory for his people, which he had already given to their faith with his word Father, he repeated with the growing emotion of his prayer. And this prayer was answered, for it concerned those whom the Father had given him, all his redeemed, and not just the first disciples. If the disciples came to know God, it was only because Jesus made his name known to them; and this divine light made it shine more brightly in their souls by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit: and I will make it known to them. The supreme purpose of so many graces was that the disciples should be made partakers of that ineffable relationship of love which unites the Father and the Son, and that their communion with Jesus should be so complete : « That I may be in them. »

With this great promise Jesus concluded his prayer, which was fulfilled in all the disciples’ experience and in all their labours. Nothing separated them from the love of God in Christ; Christ lived in them and they were more than conquerors through Him who loved them (Meyer).

Deacon Michel Houyoux

Links to other Christian websites

◊ Sunday Omily : klick here to read tha post  → SEVENTH SUNDAY OF EASTER, YEAR C

◊  Nicholas Martorano, O.S.A.  : klick here to read tha post  →  Seventh Sunday of Easter – Year C — The Augustinians

♥ Sunday Gospel reflection with Father Williams

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