Sunday of the Fathers Homily
“I am praying for them; I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are mine; all mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me; I have guarded them, and none of them is lost but the son of perdition, that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you; and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
If ever there was a prayer that lasted 2020 years it is this prayer. In the Gospel today we hear how in this Great Priestly Prayer to His Father our Lord reveals the goals that He set out in His life on earth and the completion of these goals. On this Sunday after the Ascension our Lord reminds us that He is bringing before the Father all those who believe in Him, from the Holy Apostles and through them, all those who will believe in their testimonies to the end of the world. Having achieved His mission then, Christ returns to the Father. How important for us also to have goals in life which is a remedy against confusion, sloth, depression and adversity. In these days of the pandemic we need to be energised and discerning about the things of the world, what our Christian goal is, knowing the direction of our life and how to get there.
See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.
Throughout the Gospel passage, our Lord is concerned for His disciples. The major theme of the discourse is about relationship with the Father and His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. The key ingredients to this relationship are love, obedience and unity. Our Lord provides us with the wherewithal to withstand the ravages of the world since we are grafted into His Life. Love for one another will bind us together and will be the sign to others that we are Christ’s disciples. John 13: 35.This love is grounded in faith and in obedience:
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” John 14:15
The result of loving obedience will be the experience of being in a relationship with God and enjoying His peace. Discipleship is all about following and when the Holy Spirit comes at Pentecost, He will guide us into all Truth.
We are in a waiting period with lock down and we must not lose heart. Times of waiting are never easy so we must persevere in faith with hope.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance.
We have been chosen out of the corrupting power of the world ; the word Ekklesia, usually translated as Church, means those “called out.” We have been taught by Christ and are sanctified by His life giving death upon the Cross. We (disciples) are to remain in the world in order, like the Apostles, to witness and to have the opportunity to become part of that unbreakable unity with the Father and the Son John 17:11. Christ’s return to glory with the Father which He enjoyed before His incarnation heralds our return to Paradise.
In the meantime we must set our goals and know the direction we are going.
A young woman told her father that she wanted to marry a certain seminarian who was to be a priest in the Church. The father, a wealthy man objected:
“He may be a good man but you will be poor and he is a stranger to us, we do not know even where he comes from!”
“True father, the daughter said, but I know him and I know where he is going and I would like to go with him.”
The journey begins now with knowledge, the relationship starts today with obedience, eternal life is already present in that love which never ends.
And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
We have to use that knowledge in the journey that is before us like a divine road map. Putting our hand into the Hand of God, our journey will be filled with love and joy which is the antidote to fatigue and boredom. Obedience to the commands of Christ, His salvific life, his teachings, example and instructions as found in right doctrine and scripture provide us with the means of travel for this most exalted mission. We have then an aim and a mission, a purpose and a goal to be an instrument of love and a witness in His world. St Dimitri of Rostov said;” the goal of a man’s life is to strive always and in every way to be united with God…. For it is God from Whom the soul has received it’s life and it’s nature, and for Whom it must eternally live.”
On this Sunday of the Fathers of the First Ecumenical council we see expressed that affirmation of unity in true doctrine amongst the God bearing Fathers of the First Ecumenical Council through the Nicene Creed which is the Symbol of faith.
We who believe in Christ are kept by His prayer for us unto the ages of ages. Amen.