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This Sunday



Seventh Sunday of Easter

“The Synoptic Gospels do not contain an account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.”

If a homilist were to say that at a typical Sunday Mass, he would most likely add some words explaining what he meant. He might say, “The Synoptic Gospels, namely the closely related Gospel accounts written by Matthew, Mark and Luke, do not contain an account of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples.”

When speakers use words that may be unfamiliar to their hearers, or words that might be misunderstood, they usually make a point of explaining those words before they continue. Otherwise, they run the risk of confusing their listeners.

We see Jesus acting like a wise speaker in this Sunday’s Gospel (John 17:1-11).

There the disciples hear Jesus telling his heavenly Father, “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 your son may give eternal life to all you gave him.”

Then Jesus immediately goes on to explain what he means by the term “eternal life.”

Obviously, Jesus does not do that for the benefit of God, but rather for the sake of his disciples, including us.

Jesus says, “Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”

Eternal life is more than an endless succession of days; it is “knowing” God. This “knowing” that Jesus is speaking about is not just understanding theological facts about God or affirming the statements found in the Creed. If that were the case, eternal life would seem to be a religion class without end.

The knowing that Jesus is referring to is having a close, intimate relationship with God. It is about knowing God as a loving Father who has a place for us in his heart.

Such a relationship can be ours through Jesus Christ. As we hear Jesus tell the Father in Sunday’s Gospel, “I revealed your name to those whom you gave me out of the world.”

Jesus has told us God’s name, told us that God is a loving Father. And by his life, his ministry, and by his teaching, Jesus has shown us what the Father is like and invited us to have a relationship with our heavenly Father.

We gain some insight into that relationship if we consider the relationship of love and intimacy that exists between Jesus and the Father. Jesus glorifies the Father by being a faithful, loving Son, even willing to embrace the Cross. The Father in turn glorifies the Son by raising him to new life and revealing him as Savior and Lord.

Eternal life in not about having a calendar whose pages never end.

Eternal life is our being invited into that mutual, on-going, loving relationship that exists between the Father and the Son.

“Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ.”

© 2017 Rev. Thomas B. Iwanowski

May the peace and joy of the Risen Lord

be with you during this Easter Season!

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