Today’s gospel is a continuation of Jesus’ Priestly Prayer. We hear Jesus ask the Father to give his disciples–-the disciples gathered around him and his disciples of every era–– four things: unity, perseverance, joy, and holiness. Jesus prays, “Father, keep them in your name.” He is asking for the disciples’ perseverance both in the teaching he has given them and in the communion that they have with him. A consequence of this perseverance is unity. Jesus says, “So that they may be one just as we are one.” And the unity that he prays for is meant to be nothing less than a reflection of the unity within God, the unity of the three divine Persons.
As a result of the disciples’ union with God and their perseverance, they will share in the joy of Christ. This is a joy that all genuine Christians have experienced through the centuries no matter the circumstances in which they lived. In this life, the more we truly know God and the more closely we stay in union with him, the happier we are. In eternal life, our joy will be complete, because our knowledge and love of God will have reached their climax.
Finally, Jesus prays for those who, though living in the world, are not of the world. He prays that they may be truly holy and carry out the mission he has entrusted to them, just as he did the work that his Father gave him to do.
Unity, perseverance, joy and holiness, needless to say, are not of our making but the fruit of the sacrament that is the source and summit of Christian life. The Eucharist, frequently partaken of, makes possible and animates Christ’s gifts to his church.
Lord Jesus, keep us mindful that we are your body to the people of our time, bearers of your gospel and grace. Fashion us the more into effective instruments of your mission; make us eager to implant and extend your saving presence to our world. Amen.
Daily Eucharistic Reflection – Center for Eucharistic Evangelizing (eucharisticevangelizing.com)