YEAR A: HOMILY FOR WEDNESDAY OF THE 7TH WEEK OF EASTER
HOMILY THEME: JESUS’ PRAYER FOR US
BY: Fr Umoh Valentine
HOMILY: Gospel: John 17: 11-19
In this gospel pericope, two words stand out distinctively and both appear three times each: “Consecrate” – Sanctify – cf. John 17: 17, 19) and “Truth” (cf. John 17: 17: 19). The Greek word for Truth – ἀλήθεια – expresses two important senses: truth as opposed to a lie as well as truth (an expression of reality) as opposed to appearance. It also expresses the character of truthfulness, sincerity and frankness. ἀλήθεια as well expresses “the content” of that which is true and thus “in accordance” with what actually happened. The Greek word for sanctify (consecrate) on the other hand, ἁγιάζω means set apart as sacred to God; make holy, consecrate; regard as sacred; purify, cleanse. Both words are well founded in biblical tradition. The concentration of these two important biblical words in this pericope is key to grasp the depth of Jesus´ prayer for His disciples.
Jesus prayed that His disciples be consecrated in truth and holiness. Jesus prayed that God himself sanctifies and consecrates them in His truth and holiness since God Himself is both Truth and Holiness. In other words, Jesus prayed that God sets these ones apart, that God equips them with the qualities of mind and heart and character for such a task or service of being His witnesses in the world. It was an important and perfect prayer for the disciples at such a crucial time of the earthly departure of their master. With the commission to continue the salvific mission of their Master; a consecration in Truth and Holiness was important for such onerous task.
Just as Jesus was called by the Father to serve in holiness and truth, so we, too, as his true disciples are called and equipped for the task of serving God in the world as his ambassadors. God’s truth frees us from ignorance and the deception of sin. It reveals to us God’s goodness, love, and wisdom. And it gives us a thirst for God’s holiness. The Holy Spirit is the source and giver of all holiness. As we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, he transforms us by his purifying fire and changes us into the likeness of Christ.
What message and prayer can be more impactful and powerful that these Jesus´ words on consecration in truth and holiness in a world already destroyed by moral relativism and the disdain for the sacred. In a world where there seems to be no clear-cut distinction between Truth and Falsehood, Good and Bad, Right and Wrong; In a world where Holiness makes no longer sense to the common man on the streets because everything is permitted, we must reinforce this prayer of Jesus that God himself may consecrate us in Truth and Holiness. God is Truth. God is Holy. We cannot be true witnesses if we do not abide in both truth and holiness.
Peace be with you!