Gospel—John 17; 11B – 19
Two of the readings for this weekend are from St. John, one from his First Letter, and the second from
His Gospel. John writes beautifully about the love of God, and this comes not merely from his
understanding of the prophecies of the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus, but also from his
powerful experience of God’s love. The lecturer who has not experienced it can say all the right words
and use the correct terms, but his listeners will probably sense that it lacks experience and emotion.
John not only knew about God, he knew God and experienced Him in a very personal way. John’s
writings have the intellectual understanding, and the experience that bring his words to life, even
two thousand years after they were written.
The selection from the First Letter of John is brief, only five verses. It begins by reminding us that we are
loved by God and quickly makes the connection, that for the follower of Jesus being loved by God
involves our loving one another. When we accept the pure, nonjudgmental, unconditional love God
has for us and strive to extend that to others, then the world sees God’s presence in us. John goes to
emphasize the importance of our loving one another as the means of God remaining in us and of his
love being perfected in us. Our passage then ends with the simple and beautiful verse, “God is Love,
and whoever remains in love remains in God and god in him.” 1 Jn 4 : 16
In this brief passage on love John also gives a description of the Trinity. He speaks of God’s love and
how we are blessed by the Father, Son and Spirit. Their love is the perfect love of the Trinity that is
God’s love and embraces us and blesses us in different ways. The power of God’s love is the power to
transform, strengthen and empower us to become more faithful followers of Christ, and stronger
witnesses in the love that we have for one another.
The Gospel is a selection from the Priestly Prayer of Jesus which is at the end of the Last Supper, just
before Jesus leads the Apostles across the Kidron Valley where he is arrested. In the
portion of the prayer we hear, Jesus does not mention the word “love.” He talks to the Father about
how he protected them, guarded them, and desires that they may share his joy completely. He asks the
Father to consecrate them in truth and says, “I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be
consecrated in truth.” The Church uses the word “consecrate” to describe the bread and
wine becoming the body and Blood, soul and Divinity of Christ, during Mass. Jesus’ prayer and desire
that we be “consecrated in truth,’ is more than a nice sentiment, it is a prayer for a major
transformation of Love. It is the Love that John writes of in the third Chapter of this Gospel where he
says, “For God so loved the world that he sent his only Son.” John 3; 16.
This is this love that we celebrate during the forty days of Lent and fifty days of Easter. Ninety days of
remembering, reflecting on and celebrating the great love God has for us. If you feel left behind in
experiencing and growing in this love, fear not, we still have seven days left of the Easter Season, and
ultimately God’s love cannot be confined to a particular time, but is an eternal offering to us. Open your hearts
and receive God’s love.
Father Killian Loch, O.S.B.