In prayer, in our ‘lifting our eyes to heaven,’ we hopefully bring ourselves as we are. We bring the deep desires and the “stuff” of our lives, that fills our hearts and minds, before our loving God where we let God’s light shine on all of it. I would imagine that concern for family, friends, the poor, the sick, the dying, and the most vulnerable in our communities, along with gratitude for the extraordinary grace-filled “helpers” amongst us, has filled much of our time in prayer of late.
Today’s readings reveal Paul commending the Ephesians to God and the “gracious word” of God, that, as Paul says, “ . . .can build you up and give you the inheritance among all who are consecrated.” In the gospel, we also see Jesus at prayer and glimpse the intimacy and the depth of connection between Jesus and the Father. Much of Jesus’ prayer is about his disciples. This includes the disciples of two-thousand years ago and those of us today whom Jesus still calls to follow after him. Jesus asks the Father to keep all his disciples in God’s name, or God’s orbit if you will, as opposed to the things of this world or those things not of God.
Jesus, in carrying out his mission from the Father, gave the disciples God’s word. He cared, protected and guarded the disciples. And now, as he is about to return the Father, he asks God his Father to continue to keep us disciples safe, secure and in the word of God, the ‘truth’ that Jesus spoke and that his life, death and resurrection revealed.
So much of the “world” is caught up in things not of God. Jesus reminds us that although we do not belong to the world, we do indeed live in the world. Towards that end, Jesus asks the Father to consecrate us disciples in the “truth” and that truth is God’s word.
Friends, Jesus was “THE” word of God. He is the way, the truth and the life. As we approach the great feast of Pentecost this coming Sunday, let us pray for an openness and radical receptivity, to the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let us ‘lift our eyes to heaven’ and beg for a fuller share in the gifts of wisdom, understanding, counsel (right judgement), fortitude (courage), knowledge, piety (reverence), and fear of the Lord (wonder and awe). We have been commissioned to continue the work of Christ and for that we need to be steeped in the heart and mind of Christ.
Lift your eyes to Heaven!!