Tuesday (May 30): "This is eternal life - to know the Father the only true God"

Meditation: In his Last Supper discourse with his beloved disciples Jesus speaks of his glory and the glory of his Father. What is this glory? It is the cross which Jesus speaks of here and the willing offering of his life for us. How does the cross reveal this glory? In the cross God reveals the breadth of his great love for sinners and the power of Jesus' redemptive sacrifice which cancels the debt of sin and reverses the curse of our condemnation (Romans 8:1). Jesus gave his Father the supreme honor and glory through his obedience and willingness to go to the cross for our sake. In times of defense the greatest honor belongs not to those who fought and survived but to those who gave the supreme sacrifice of their own lives for their fellow citizens.The Lord Jesus freely and willingly offered up his life out of obedience to his Father and love for us.

Jesus reveals the glory of God to us
Jesus speaks of the Father bringing glory to the Son through the great mystery of the Incarnation - the eternal Word who became flesh for our sake (John 1:14) - and the Cross of Christ which won for us pardon, freedom, and new life in the Holy Spirit. God the Father gave us his only begotten Son to set us free from slavery to sin, guilt, and condemnation. His sacrificial death brings us new life - the abundant life of peace and joy which God wishes to share with each one of us. There is no greater proof of God's love for each and every person on the face of the earth than the Cross of Jesus Christ. In the cross we see a new way of love - a love that is merciful, sacrificial, and generous beyond measure.

Jesus offers abundant life without end
Jesus offers us eternal life. What is eternal life? It is more than simply a life without end or an eternal state of being. Science and medicine look for ways to extend the duration of human life - but God offers us something vastly greater and more surpassing than a simple extension of physical life. Eternal life is qualitative more than quantitative. To have eternal life is to have the very life of God within us. When we possess eternal life we experience here and now something of God's majesty, glory, and holiness which he shares with us. Through the gift and working of the Holy Spirit, God fills us with the abundant fruit of his peace, joy and love.

We can know God personally
Jesus also speaks of the knowledge of God. Jesus tells his disciples that they can know the only true God. Knowledge of God is not simply limited to knowing something about God, but we can know God personally and be united with God in a personal relationship of love and friendship. The essence of Christianity, and what makes it distinct from Judaism and other religions, is the personal and experiential knowledge of God as our eternal Father - the one who knew us before creation (Ephesians 1:4 and Romans 8:29) and who knit us in our mother's womb (Psalm 139:13 and Jeremiah 1:5). Jesus makes it possible for each of us to personally know God as our Father. To see Jesus is to see what God is like.

A unity of love that endures forever
In Jesus Christ we see the perfect love of God - a God who cares intensely and who yearns over men and women, loving them to the point of laying down his life for them upon the Cross. Jesus is the revelation of God - a God who loves us completely, unconditionally and perfectly. Do you hunger to know God personally and to be united with the Father in his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, through the unity of the Holy Spirit who dwells with us? The Lord Jesus invites each of us to enter more deeply into a personal relationship of love and oneness of mind, heart, and spirit with the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit who created us in love for love.

"If only I possessed the grace, good Jesus, to be utterly at one with you! Amidst all the variety of worldly things around me, Lord, the only thing I crave is unity with you. You are all my soul needs. Unite, dear friend of my heart, this unique little soul of mine to your perfect goodness.You are all mine; when shall I be yours? Lord Jesus, my beloved, be the magnet of my heart; clasp, press, unite me for ever to your sacred heart. You have made me for yourself; make me one with you. Absorb this tiny drop of life into the ocean of goodness whence it came." (Prayer of Francis de Sales, 1567-1622)


This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/