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    Saint Francis of Assisi
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7th Sunday of Easter

Dear friends – below are the readings and collect for the 7th Sunday of Easter, with a short reflection on the gospel. It is a time of waiting – after the celebration of the Ascension last Thursday and we await the celebration of Pentecost tomorrow week. A time for reflection and prayer as we look forward to the renewing of our lives by the Holy Spirit

O God the King of Glory,
you have exalted your only Son Jesus Christ
with great triumph to your kingdom in heaven:
Mercifully give us faith to know
that, as he promised,
he abides with us on earth to the end of time;
who is alive and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.

Ezekiel 39:21-29
I will display my glory among the nations; and all the nations shall see my judgement that I have executed, and my hand that I have laid on them. The house of Israel shall know that I am the Lord their God, from that day forward. And the nations shall know that the house of Israel went into captivity for their iniquity, because they dealt treacherously with me. So I hid my face from them and gave them into the hand of their adversaries, and they all fell by the sword. I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their transgressions, and hid my face from them.

Therefore, thus says the Lord God: Now I will restore the fortunes of Jacob, and have mercy on the whole house of Israel; and I will be jealous for my holy name. They shall forget their shame, and all the treachery they have practised against me, when they live securely in their land with no one to make them afraid, when I have brought them back from the peoples and gathered them from their enemies’ lands, and through them have displayed my holiness in the sight of many nations. Then they shall know that I am the Lord their God because I sent them into exile among the nations, and then gathered them into their own land. I will leave none of them behind; and I will never again hide my face from them, when I pour out my spirit upon the house of Israel, says the Lord God.
1 Peter 4:12-14
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that is taking place among you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice in so far as you are sharing Christ’s sufferings, so that you may also be glad and shout for joy when his glory is revealed. If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the spirit of glory, which is the Spirit of God, is resting on you.
John 17: 1-11
After Jesus had spoken these words, 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.

In our Gospel account today … from the 17th chapter of John Jesus is praying……. (Some call this chapter the real Lord’s Prayer because the prayer we usually call the Lord’s Prayer is actually Jesus ‘sample prayer’ for the disciples. Another way to look at it is, the Lord’s Prayer is Jesus’ teaching on prayer, ….. but here we have his example.

It is important that we remind ourselves of the context of this prayer … Jesus here was headed toward betrayal, arrest, abandonment, and the cross.
In the midst of this testing he chose to pray………. In his hour of need the Almighty in the flesh chose to pray……. Not for himself but for others
This passage possibly helps us to understand the proper attitude of prayer. Jesus’ sample pray (what we call the Lord’s Prayer) for his disciple begins, “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come your will be done…”
In the same vein Jesus begins this prayer, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.”
In both prayers Jesus’ first thought is God.
This is an extremely important point …..Our attitude in prayer should be God centred, …… not self-centred.

Jesus says to his father …I glorified you having accomplished the work which you gave me to do
the work ….. what Jesus is telling us is that Giving glory to God is not just about Sunday Worship … something we do once a week in the rarefied atmosphere of a Church …Rather it is what we do with our lives ….. all that we are and do should bring glory to God
Jesus also says … I am glorified in them – So … despite all our weaknesses and faults ….. like those of the first disciples … Jesus is glorified by what we are and do

Eternal Life.
Jesus gives us a definition of Eternal life….. He says, “this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

So … Eternal life is not something that is achieved and won or bought…… It is a relationship … So often people think that Eternal life is some kind of “Prize” …. But it is our relationship with God
Jesus’ prayer for us … in the midst of the most difficult of circumstances is that we may come to know God ….. And in that relationship …. be united … with God and each other ..and through that give glory to God
because the most important thing that Jesus teaches us in this prayer is that the bonds that tie us together
are not like mindedness …….. colour …….. race……… or creed
rather ….. what binds us together is our attempt to pray in the way Jesus prayed …… building up our relationship with God … in order that we build up our relationships with each other and all people
…. This is the work of Christ and this is what gives glory to God … and this is Christ’s prayer for you