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The prayer of Jesus

Gospel Reading: Jn 17:1-11a
Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.

“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. And now I will no longer be in the world, but they are in the world, while I am coming to you.”

The Gospel begins Jesus’ long prayer at the Last Supper. Since the 16th century, this has been called the High Priestly Prayer. In truth, in his public ministry, Jesus never claims priestly dignity nor are priestly functions attributed to him. The letter to the Hebrews explains: “It is clear that our Lord arose from Judah, and in regard to that tribe Moses said nothing about priests” (7:14). Nonetheless, the same letter calls Jesus our High Priest, not in the order of Levitical priests but “according to the order of Melchizedek” – by virtue of “the power of a life that cannot be destroyed” through his death and glorification (Heb 7:16-17). Now in heaven, our High Priest intercedes for us before God’s throne.

At the Last Supper, Jesus speaks as intercessor, with words addressed directly to the Father. As the priests in Israel interceded for the people, so Jesus prays for the disciples whom he is leaving behind as he is about to return to the Father. He prays for his immediate and future disciples because he knows that his mission to reveal God will be carried out from generation to generation. As he is sent by the Father, so he sends his disciples, and many more will be sent in his name in the future. As the heavenly High Priest, he intercedes for all those who reveal the Father’s name to the world.

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2016,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: books@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.