The Holy Gospel, according to John
After Jesus had spoken these words [to his disciples], he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him.
And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do.
So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”
One with God? How is that possible? The apostles gathered around Jesus at that Last Supper were already anxious and frightened, knowing the threat of both the Roman and Jewish authorities was growing around Jesus, and themselves.
Now he was again reminding them of his impending death, a death he seemed to welcome, a death that he was convinced was why he had been born, a death that would save us all from the power of death. But even his earnest desire to complete his mission could not distract him from the fears and confusion of the people he called to follow him.
He was determined to help them understand that he was not leaving them behind, abandoned and forgotten, but that in fact, his dying and rising was God’s plan.
Although the time would come when he would no longer be visible to them in the familiar way, this next step would bring them to a never before experienced consciousness of God dwelling within them.
They would be graced to understand that the Spirit would be his Presence both within each of them, and among all of them, never to die, or be separated from them again. They would be ONE.
Jesus understood that we need to believe that the Presence of God is with us, unseen, but powerfully alive, in order to be at peace with ourselves, which is what he meant by oneness.
This meant that whatever life threw at them, and us, the one constant, the one sure thing, the one irrevocable conviction, is that we can be at peace, knowing that God chooses to be with us.
No matter what we encounter, even plague, even death itself, God will prevail, and so will we. It is his solemn promise, even in this time of distancing and solitude, that we are not alone, but in the intimate and everlasting Presence of God. Amen