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Monday, May 10, 2010

+ E A S T E R + S E V E N + 2010 +

Lexegete™ | Year C | St. Luke

Seventh Sunday of Easter | May 16, 2010

Acts 16:16-34
Psalm 97 (12)
Revelation 22:12-14, 16-17, 20-21
John 17:20-26

Prayer of the Day
O God, form the minds of your faithful people into your one will. Make us love what you command and desire what you promise, that, amid all the changes of this world, our hearts may be fixed where true joy is found, your Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

Gospel Acclamation
Alleluia. I will not leave you orphaned, | says the Lord.
I am com- | ing to you. Alleluia. (John 14:18)

1a. CONTEXT: John 17:20-26

THE LAST DISCOURSE: Division Three (Unit 3)

These verses follow Unit One (vv. 1-5, Jesus' prayer

for himself), Unit Two (vv. 6-19, Jesus' prayer for his

disciples), and form Unit Three of the High Priestly

Prayer in Chapter 17. Unit Three consists of Jesus'

prayer for the Church universal - that it might be indwelt

by God and the Son, expressing their unity in love, and

thus fulfilling the mission of leading the world to

believe. As the Discourse draws to its close, the meaning

of the paschal mystery proclaimed at the beginning of the

meal - the return of God in complete love, of all who

belong to God - is made evident.

Twice before, Jesus has spoken of the life of union now

opening for his disciples. If the viewpoint is that of

the Last Supper, then the believers are a present reality.

In Unit Three, Jesus turns his attention directly to the

future, foreseeing success in the mission of the disciples.

The prayer for the disciples in Unit Two also had in

mind future Christians, since the disciples are living

symbols of what believers should be; but now the future orientation is more direct.

Not only does Jesus foresee a community on earth

confessing his name (vv. 21-23); he also yearns for the

eschatological deliverance of that community, so that its

members will be with him, where he is (vv. 24-26).

1b. TEXT: John 17: 20-26


20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.

24 Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.

25 O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me.

26 I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”


20Ο περ τούτων δ ρωτ μόνον, λλ κα περ τν πιστευόντων δι το λόγου ατν ες μέ, 21να πάντες ν σιν, καθς σύ, πάτερ, ν μο κγ ν σοί, να κα ατο ν μν σιν, να κόσμος πιστεύ τι σύ με πέστειλας. 22κγ τν δόξαν ν δέδωκάς μοι δέδωκα ατος, να σιν ν καθς μες ν, 23γ ν ατος κα σ ν μοί, να σιν τετελειωμένοι ες ν, να γινώσκ κόσμος τι σύ με πέστειλας κα γάπησας ατος καθς μ γάπησας. 24Πάτερ, δέδωκάς μοι, θέλω να που εμ γ κκενοι σιν μετ' μο, να θεωρσιν τν δόξαν τν μν ν δέδωκάς μοι, τι γάπησάς με πρ καταβολς κόσμου. 25πάτερ δίκαιε, κα κόσμος σε οκ γνω, γ δέ σε γνων, κα οτοι γνωσαν τι σύ με πέστειλας, 26κα γνώρισα ατος τ νομά σου κα γνωρίσω, να γάπη ν γάπησάς με ν ατος κγ ν ατος.

2. ANALYSIS: John 17: 20-26

THE LAST DISCOURSE: Division Three (Unit Three)

[ou peri touton de eroto monon, alla kai peri ton

pisteuonton dia tou logou auton sis eme ] In the Greek

word order the first of these two phrases follows the

second (v. 20); thus, it would be possible to translate

as: "Believe through their word about me." The idea is

not too far from that of Rom. 10: 14 and Heb. 2: 3-4.

There is a remarkable grammatical parallelism between vv.

20-21 and vv. 22-23. In particular, note the following:

21a [hina] that they may all be one; 21b [kathos ]

just as You in me, etc;

21c [hina] that they also may, etc.; 21d [hina]

Thus the world may, etc.;

22b [hina] that they may be one; 22c [kathos]

just as we are one, etc.;

23b [hina] that they may be brought; 23c [hina] Thus

the world may come.

Each of these blocks of four consists of three [hina]

clauses, with a [kathos] clause separating the first and second.

The first and second [hina] clause in each involves the

oneness of the believers, while the third involves the

effect on the world. The second [hina] clause does not

merely repeat the first, but further develops the idea of

unity. The [kathos] clause in each block holds up for the

believers the model of the unity of Jesus and God.

[Kathos] has both a comparative and a causative force

here: divine-human unit (Word-made-flesh), is both the

model and the source of the unity of believers. The model

of unity is, for the Johannine writer, the mutual

indwelling of God and the Son.

The Johannine statements about unity imply both a

horizontal and a vertical dimension. The unity involves

the relation of the believers to God and to the Son

(vertical), and the relation of the believers among

themselves (horizontal).

The latter dimension is found in all the statements

stressing love of one another that we have found in the

Last Discourse (13: 34-35, 15: 12, 17); see also the theme

of community with one another in 1 John 1: 7. Thus, unity

for the Johannine writer is not reducible to a mystical

relationship with God. Nor is it simply human community

or the harmonious interaction of Christians.

We should note that introducing God, as well as the

Son into the unity, goes beyond the unity imaged in the

Pauline Body of Christ. The relationship between God and

the Son involves more than moral union; the two are

related because God gives life to the Son. After the same

manner, Christians are one with one another and with God

and the Son, because they have received of this life.

In Johannine thought, Jesus, during his lifetime, was

the tabernacle of God embodying divine glory; and now in a

covenantal setting, he promises to give to his followers

the glory that God gave to him. Jesus, who will be

acclaimed by his followers as Lord and God, in the last

words that he speaks to them during his mortal life, prays

that after death he "may be in them."

3. STRATEGY: John 17: 20-26

THE LAST DISCOURSE: Division Three (Unit Three)

In preaching from this text, again, our challenge is in

the realm of anamnesis. Our union in Christ is a reality

here and now. It is not a promise for the future only,

but a promise fulfilled.

And yet, the fulfilled promise has an ongoing future.

All of us receive the gift of Christ Life into ongoing

personal lives. This is true of each and is equally true

of the ongoing interpersonal life of the whole community,

gathered into Oneness in Christ over space and time. We

cannot miss the call to mission and ecumenism, either.

We are confronted with incarnational, sacramental

theology, from beginning to end, in the Last Discourse.

It is union open without limit, embracing all given the

Son by God. The divine-human unity of incarnation is

unique - it alone can encompass all, beginning in Christ

and ceaselessly extending to draw in all. How did the

first disciples come to believe? They themselves

encountered, came to know and love Jesus; and then through

the Spirit, they came to recognize that he is the total

embodiment of all God is.

Finally, to be with Christ where he is, is to be with

him as he lives here with us. It is here that we see his

glory and recognize that it is "love," the self-gift of

God to persons. The more we see and recognize persons in

our lives as those to whom God is given and giving, the

more we behold Christ in glory. Christ loves all

completely, to the end. Lord and Master of all, he serves

all who are called into the Great Supper and Feast of the Lord.

4. REFERENCES: John 17: 20-26


XIII-XXI. Gardenn n City, NY: Doubleday and Co., 1970, pp. 769, 773-74, 776, 781.


Herbert G. May and Bruce M. Metzger, eds., New

York: Oxford University Press, 1973, pp. 1311-1312.


Wurttembergische Bibelanstalt, Stuttgart/West Germany: United States Biblem Societies, 1975, p. 296.

Whitson, Robley Edward. THE CENTER SCRIPTURES. Bristol,

Indiana: The United Institute, Wyndham Hall Press, 1987,

pp. 75-76, 81.

Exegete: The Rev. Dr. Carol M. Worthing, D. Min.(ELCA, Ret’d) earned a M.Div. degree in 1982 from the Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary in St. Paul. Carol earned a P.h.D in theological studies from the Graduate Theological Foundation in 2002, and in the same year was honored as the John Macquarrie Fellow for the superior quality of her dissertation. She was chosen by the Cathedral Council to serve as preacher at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. in November of 2002. Carol Worthing has returned to Edina, Minn. where she currently resides.



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