Homily for Thursday of the Seventh Week of Easter
If you have been to a funeral that I preside at, you’ll know that this Gospel is one that I often use for funerals. It is known as the High Priestly Prayer of Jesus which He prays while in the Garden of Gethsemane in the hours before His crucifixion.
It is in that moment of great agony for our Lord, that He expresses to the Father His desire that all of those who have come to know Him as the Savior, as the Messiah will be united with Him in Heaven for the rest of Eternity. And that desire of Jesus is rooted in His love for us. By His Passion, death, and resurrection, Jesus shows us the lengths that He is willing to go to make that promise a reality for all of us. He offers His very life for our salvation, for our redemption, for freedom for us from sin and death.
This prayer of Jesus not only expresses His hope for us, but it also reveals what we should hope in as Christians. It is something St. Paul mentions in our reading from the Acts of the Apostles and we also hear it in our responsorial psalm for today…Jesus is our hope. We have hope in the Resurrection. Without that one event, our ability to dwell with God forever in heaven would not be possible at all. When things in life don’t seem to be going our way, when the deck seems to be stacked against us, when we can’t seem to catch a break, when the weight of the world is on our shoulders…we can still have hope as Christians because of the Resurrection.
Our job as Christians is to take that message of hope to others. It’s to remind them that, even in the midst of difficulties, even in the midst of pain and suffering, even in the midst of sorrow, even in the midst of doubt and confusion, we have to cling to this hope that Jesus is with us in it. He is with us in those moments because He endured it Himself. But we also have to remind them that the Resurrection ALWAYS follows the Cross.
So today, may we remind ourselves and remind others that Jesus is with us. He is always with us. He’s walking with us on this journey of life and leading us to the house of the Father.