Thursday, May 16, 2013

Gospel Reflection

May 16, 2013
Thursday – Year of Faith – Easter Season
by Rev. Fr. Julian C. Lupot, (Vicar, St. Joseph the Work Cathedral, Tagbilaran City, Bohol)
7:15AM Mass, St. Joseph the Worker Cathedral


Wishing to determine the truth about why Paul was being accused by the Jews, the commander freed him and ordered the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin to convene. Then he brought Paul down and made him stand before them.

Paul was aware that some were Sadducees and some Pharisees, so he called out before the Sanhedrin, “My brothers, I am a Pharisee, the son of Pharisees; I am on trial for hope in the resurrection of the dead.” When he said this, a dispute broke out between the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the group became divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection
or angels or spirits, while the Pharisees acknowledge all three. A great uproar occurred, and some scribes belonging to the Pharisee party stood up and sharply argued, “We find nothing wrong with this man. Suppose a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?” The dispute was so serious that the commander, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, ordered his troops to go down and rescue Paul from their midst and take him into the compound. The following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Take courage. For just as you have borne witness to my cause in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness in Rome.”

Responsorial Psalm PS 16:1-2a and 5, 7-8, 9-10, 11

R. (1) Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R. Alleluia.
Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R. Alleluia.
I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R. Alleluia.
Therefore my heart is glad and my soul rejoices,
my body, too, abides in confidence;
Because you will not abandon my soul to the nether world,
nor will you suffer your faithful one to undergo corruption.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R. Alleluia.
You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever.
R. Keep me safe, O God; you are my hope.
R. Alleluia.

Gospel Jn 17:20-26

Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “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. 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, 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. 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. 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.”


We are nearing the end now of the Easter Season, we have three more days to go. And we remember today the last part of the high priestly prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ. If we want to reflect deeply on the prayer of Jesus Christ, it is the whole Chapter 17 of the Gospel of John, which consists of prayer for unity, prayer for protection, and prayer of inclusion. 

Jesus does not only pray for His Disciples, but also those who listen to Him and learn from His words. If you take note of this, this is the first tone of ecumenism, which is the movement of the mutual understanding of all the religions in the whole world. We have the same Bible. The only difference is that others have a different number of books. For example, for the Protestants, it is minus seven. Catholic Bibles have 73 books - 46 in the Old, and 27 in the New. In the Protestants, they only have 66 - 39 in the Old, and 27 in the New. They do not have the Aprocyphal books. 

This is what is meant by the prayer of Jesus. Jesus prays that we may be one, including those from other religions who read His word or learn from His word. Our religion is a religion of love, a religion of the heart. Vatican II has made the Catholic Church an open Church. It is because we belong to one flock, we belong to one Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ. And Jesus has prayed for that. 

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I hope that in our personal prayer, we may always include the Church. And by Church, we mean, not only the Catholic Church, but all churches who believe in Jesus. Why should you pray for them? Because Jesus has prayed for them.