Tuesday in the Seventh Week of Easter
Scripture Readings: Acts 20:17-27; Jn 17:1-11a
Today we heard the first third of Jesus’ intercessory prayer at the Last Supper. Tomorrow we will hear the second, and on Thursday the third and final part. Similarly, on the Seventh Sunday of Easter in each of the three liturgical cycles we hear the same three parts of Jesus’ prayer: the first in year A, the second in year B, and the third in year C.
For whom is Jesus praying? In the first part he prays for himself: “Father, glorify me with the glory that I had before the world existed.” In the second he prays for his disciples: “Father, protect them from the evil one so they may be one as we are one.” In the third Jesus intercedes for those who will come to believe in him through the word of his disciples: “Father, may they know that you love them even as you have loved me and see the glory you have given me.”
What does he mean by “glory”? Is it the honor given for great achievements? No, not the honor but the ability to do great things. God’s glory is the divine nature, just as an athlete’s glory is his or her exceptional physical ability. Or, an opera singer’s glory is not the applause she receives but her beautiful voice. Jesus wants to share his glory with us, the divine nature itself. As St. Thomas Aquinas writes, “The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.” 1
Well, this is heavy stuff. Let’s lighten up a little bit by illustrating it with a story about a farmer’s glory, that is his ability to cultivate the land exceptionally well. He was a bachelor farmer who decided to get married. He ran an ad in one of those dating services. It read, “A young strong handsome man who farms 240 acres wants to meet a country girl who owns a tractor and is willing to get married. Please send a photo of the tractor.”
- Catholic Catechism #460.