Daily Readings Reflection for 5/18/10

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Reflection on Today’s Daily Readings by Fr. Bertrand Buby, SM

Today’s Readings

Scripture: May 18, Lectionary # 298. Acts 20:17-27. Psalm 68:10-11,20-21.
John 17:1-11:

The Lutheran David Chytaeus (d.1600) is given the honor of calling this
intimate prayer of Jesus his Sacerdotal Prayer for Unity.  Cyril of
Alexandria in the fifth century comes close to naming it the priestly
prayer of Jesus. This chapter is remarkable and is one that we should
return to often in order to put more faith and enthusiasm into our vocal
prayers at the liturgy of the hours or at the Eucharist.  There are three
parts to this chapter and we will be hearing and reading them today and the
next two days.  First, Jesus prays for himself in verses 1-5; then he prays
for his apostles, verses 6-8, and finally he prays for those to come
(including us, his readers). Chytaeus insight is carried on in the Church
Unity Octave that centers on the verse eleven: “Holy Father, keep in thy
name those whom thou has given me, that they may be one even as we are.”

Through this revelatory passage we enter into this intimate and sacrificial
or priestly prayer of Jesus.  Like the disciples we have already asked
Jesus to teach us how to pray and he gave us the Lord’s Prayer. Now in his
intimate prayer with his Father, we see that many of the themes and
petitions of that prayer are contained within his last prayers with his
disciples.  The theme of glorification is echoing the “hallowed be thy
name”; doing the will of the Father both in heaven and on earth is also
part of our journey of life and prayer. Forgiveness for our immediately
falling like the disciples do, is easily reflected in the last part of our
pericope for today.   Jesus also is protecting us from future failure
through our giving into temptations where we have found out the mercies of
the Lord endure forever and we are forgiven seven times seventy.

We often find ourselves at a standstill in our vocal prayers and our
participation in the Mass. To offset some of our wanderings and daydreaming
with countless distractions, we need to shore up our preparation for these
moments and occasions of prayer.  By returning to chapter 17 of John we
have a prayer resource that is inspired by the Holy Spirit and prayed by
our Lord himself.  By our pondering over this prayer, and by re-reading it,
we are in union with our Lord who is at prayer with us and who has taught
us how to pray not only with his words but also with his gestures and
actions easily seen and imagined in this passage about his sacerdotal
prayer. Amen. Alleluia.

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