Wrapped in Truth, Wrapped in Love

The context of today’s Gospel reading is a powerful one! Nearing the end of what is called the Last Supper Discourses, we hear Jesus’s final words to his beloved followers. Take a minute to immerse yourself in this moment.

To do so, we have to acknowledge that for several weeks now, Jesus has appeared more solemn, speaking of laying down his life for his sheep (Jn 10:15), avoiding public exposure among the Jews (Jn 11:54), and referring to his anointing at his death with the perfumed oil Mary pours upon his feet (Jn 12:7). There were many more such references, but these are just a few of what paved the way as they entered the room in which they would celebrate the Last Supper. In just the time they have spent in this room, Jesus has washed their feet, spoken of betrayal by one among them, and spoken of his own departure.

What could the little band of followers have been feeling?

Fear. Confusion. Uncertainty. Sadness.

I can imagine the blanket of confusion that must have muddled their minds, their uncertain breathing and tentativeness, and their anxious hearts and bodies.

Then comes the Gospel passage for today – Jesus’ Prayer. He lifts up his eyes to heaven, and there in their midst he prays a beautiful heartfelt prayer for them. In the face of his own death, he prays for his beloved. He acknowledges the trials that lay ahead.

Stop now and return to the Gospel passage. Reread John 17: 11-19, slowly, perhaps 2 or 3 times. Imagine being in that room and hearing these words from Christ’s lips being lifted up to the Father.

Take a breath.  What stirs in your heart as you hear these words being prayed for you?

Jesus spoke many encouraging truths in this prayer. Three stand out to me:

1. Unity

Jesus considers us as part of the Trinitarian love he shares with the Father and the Spirit. To be one with Jesus, to be one with those whom we share this journey in the world, with those who have gone before, and with those who are yet to come. This oneness is where Christ dwells. Oh – to be one with God the Father (our Papa), His precious Son (our loving Jesus), and enfolded in the Holy Spirit (our comforter and personal guide) – what a profound reality we have always in our reach!

2. Protection

Jesus is our guardian and protector. By remaining one with Him, we are safe no matter what chaos may surround. Hate may threaten on all sides, but still Christ stands firm by His Promise. Safety, security, peace – none of these can be found in what the world offers. They are however provided in abundance when we keep ourselves attached to the vine (Jn 15).

3. Consecration in Truth

Affirming that we do not belong to this world, Jesus prays some cryptic words: “And I consecrate myself for them, so that they may be consecrated in truth” (Jn 17:19). To consecrate means to set apart, to make holy, or to sanctify. Most may connect with the idea of a consecration to Jesus through Mary, which means entrusting ourselves, our holiness to the intercession of our Blessed Mother. So what does consecration mean, when Jesus says He will consecrate HImself? Is He not already pure holiness? Most assuredly he is! Recall where these words are being spoken – in the Upper Room before he is about to undertake the most critical part of his mission – his passion, death, and resurrection.  In these words, he clearly reveals that He is both priest and victim. He becomes both  – He who offers, and the One being offered. He assents to His mission to lay down his life for our sanctification by taking on all of our sins and those of the whole world. By sacrificing himself in PURE LOVE, he can wrap us in truth. We can flashback to the poor, cold infant-God, wrapped in the bare swaddling cloths, in a manger befit for animals, with his Blessed Mother and Good St. Joseph. This is truth. This is love. Truth is about love and sacrifice for the good of another.  When we live in the reality of love, we can be assured that we live in truth.

What does it mean to live in the reality of love? All we must do is gaze at the Cross. At the Cross, we find the answer, ever deepening with each moment spent there. At the Cross, we are wrapped in truth, wrapped in love.

[Readings: Acts 1:1-11; Eph 1:17-23 or Eph 4:1-13 or 4:1-7, 11-13; Mk 16:15-20]

Celina Manville

I have been in education for 20+ years, mostly working in Catholic schools serving children with special needs. Ed and I have been married over 26 years and have 3 (now) adult children - Eddie, Tony, & Kateri. Since my mom was from Brazil, and I speak fluent Portuguese, I can understand Spanish fairly well. Currently, we live in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and are parishioners at St. Luke, the Evangelist Catholic Church in Raleigh. I am most grateful to my parents for grounding me in the faith, to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for its amazing formation and education, and to Christ and His Blessed Mother for being at my side.

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