Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.’
Jesus looked up to heaven and said: ‘This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.’
I hope you have never experienced the terrible sense of violation that follows the experience of being burgled. The feeling of insecurity that overwhelms our senses as we realize that someone has trespassed into our private space is devastating. Such experiences, both personal and vicarious, have led us into a very cautious and suspicious world. As a society we have become very untrusting as we seek the reassurance of bona fide identification when someone comes to call. Our collective sense of trust has been damaged by those who would deceive and defraud us. Furthermore, our growing cynicism and suspicion has not improved the situation. Advances in modern technology and the industrial scale of internet fraud has worsened things for so many.
This attitude of uncertainty and insecurity is being challenged as we journey between the Ascension and Pentecost. We are being invited to trust once again. We are being challenged to set aside the doubt and the suspicion that may well protect us from the evil actions of our fellow human beings, but that also has the detrimental side effect of separating us from God.
In today’s reading we are reminded of Jesus’ prayer that we might know the security of divine protection. In today’s reading we are also reminded of the ultimate destination of all who journey in faith …eternal life.
As we live out our earthly lives, often in difficult circumstances, the thought of eternal life may appal and frighten us. But, Jesus is not speaking of a prolongation of our worldly existence. Rather, Jesus is speaking of an eternal cohabitation with God … a cohabitation that is beyond compare with anything we can experience in this life.
Today we are being challenged to enter into an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. Today we are challenged to believe and trust in the One, and only, Son of God. Today we are challenged to allow ourselves to fling wide the barred and shuttered gates of our hearts and minds and allow ourselves to be led into an unknown future, a future that will see us resting for ever in paradise.