Today we resume our reflections on ‘the Prayer of the Hour’.
Jesus prays for his disciples who will have to continue in the world alone, and without him. He prays that they may not waver under persecution but be steadfast. So far, none of those disciples has been lost, except the one destined to perdition.
The world hated Jesus, so the world will also hate the disciples and persecute them. His disciples are strangers to the world. They have different values. The world is full of lies and deceit, whereas the disciples are consecrated by the truth. God’s word is truth.
Jesus prays not just that his disciples may be steadfast in truth, but also that they may be united, one with each other, even as Jesus was one with his Father. If they are so, then their unity will be a sign to the world that indeed they have been sent by God.
All through John’s Gospel we have seen the theme of ‘mission’ – Jesus sent by his Father and in constant witness to his Father. In these concluding pages of John’s Gospel we see that Jesus shares this mission with his disciples, and prays that the father’s love may dwell in them as it dwelt in him; and that in turn his disciples may glorify his Father’s name, even as Jesus did the same.
This theme of mission reaches beyond Jesus to his disciples, to the Church – that is, to all who come to accept the name of the Lord because of the witness of the disciples. The latter books of the New Testament, the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles, tell of the great deeds achieved in the Church through the guiding force of the Spirit. It is the Spirit of “Jesus alive” which accompanies the disciples on every mission, on every journey, through every region of the world.
The ‘Prayer of the Hour’ is the prayer of every apostle. It is our prayer as well.