That the World May Believe That You Sent Me

Andrei Rublev, Icon of the Trinity (15th century) 

7th Week of Easter, Thursday

John 17:20-26

As the Father sends the Son, so the Son sends the disciples into the world. From one little band, the seed of the Body of Christ sown into the earth blossoms into the Church.

“I pray not only for these, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”

Seems like a tall order, doesn’t it? Did Jesus consider the messiness of church politics, and how violently minds differ and tend toward disagreement? Of course he did. It’s not a “tall order,” but a heavenly mandate with the promise of a Paraclete. The fact that politics can and have been messy does not get us off the hook. Rather, it reflects the glory of the Trinity who respects our freedom and human dignity to work towards the love that fulfills our prayer to the Father: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” As noted earlier, friendship and love are not forced or automatic. 

How are the children of the Father to become one, as the Father is in the Son, and the Son is in the Father? More may be accomplished by deep silence and prayer than by any other action. The Blessed Virgin Mary brought heaven to earth by her hidden “yes” to God, and her life of silence, love, humility and obedience. She nurtured the Son of the Father for thirty years before his public ministry. Mary is truly the Mother of Apostles given to St. John the Beloved at the foot of the Cross. Jesus knew that the disciples would face hostility and gave them his Mother to love them as sons in the Son. That includes all of us.

“And I have given them the glory you gave me, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me…”

Our journey back to the Father begins with Christ’s initiative to become one with us, “I in them.” The Father who dwells in the Son by nature (“you in me”) adopts us through Christ Incarnate.

“…that they may be brought to perfection as one, that the world may know that you sent me, and that you loved them even as you loved me.” Through and through, Jesus is relentlessly ad Patrem (toward the Father) in all that he says and does. It really is astounding—a point so blatant, yet so easy to miss.

“Father, they are your gift to me. I wish that where I am they also may be with me, that they may see my glory that you gave me, because you loved me before the foundation of the world.”

With Christ’s Ascension, the way is open to fulfill his wish “that where I am they also may be with me.” Our Body, the one Body of Christ, has an “upward” inclination to be transfigured and transformed for union and communion in the Trinity, rejoicing in their eternal glory.

“Righteous Father, the world also does not know you, but I know you, and they know that you sent me. I made known to them your name and I will make it known, that the love with which you loved me may be in them and I in them.”

The world could never know the Father unless the Son revealed him. So singularly unique is the revelation of the Trinity that it exceeds all human philosophy. One is stunned into silence at the thought of it. 

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