Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Every year during Eastertide, we listen to excerpts from the Last Supper Discourse, about four chapters long in the second half of the Gospel of John, sections like this lovely one in today’s Gospel reading.

"I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.
They belonged to you, and you gave them to me,
and they have kept your word.
Now they know that everything you gave me is from you,
because the words you gave to me I have given to them,
and they accepted them and truly understood that I came from you,
and they have believed that you sent me.
I pray for them.
I do not pray for the world but for the ones you have given me,
because they are yours, and everything of mine is yours
and everything of yours is mine,
and I have been glorified in them."

We seem to eavesdrop on the prayer of Jesus the Beloved Son to his Father. Jesus draws us into the very heart of this prayer. There is surely a beauty to the language but also a circularity. We get confused. We listen, and perhaps we are meant to lose our bearings. And we might want to say to Jesus, “Wait. What do you mean?” But that would simply be the wrong question. Asking what it means would be beside the point. It would be like standing at the Grand Canyon and saying, “Wait I don’t get it, what does it mean?” Or asking a person who is doing an unexpected kindness for you, “What exactly do you mean?” Or interrupting someone who’s kissing you very tenderly, “Excuse me, what do you mean by that?”

We are embedded in God, as beloved as Jesus is; the relationship is ours. It is that simple, that astounding. And we are invited to let ourselves be swept into the reality of mutual love that unites Father and Son, for as Augustine says, “God is to be enjoyed.” It is happening, we are in it. And so non-resistance is crucial; it is like driving on ice, you must not put on the brakes; you have to drive into the skid, into the flow, gently, attentively. 

God has lost himself in love for us; for God is most truly Godself when He gives Himself away. We are invited to let ourselves be loved in our unworthiness.