For the past several days the Gospel readings for Mass have been coming from John 17, otherwise known as the High Priestly prayer of Jesus. The reasoning is that throughout this chapter Jesus is constantly interceding for us and praying to the Father for us. Today, Jesus prays these words,
“that the world may know that you sent me,
and that you loved them even as you loved me.
Father, they are your gift to me.“
What strikes me in these words is the fact that we, all of us, are gifts to Jesus. How can this be? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? Shoudn’t we be saying to the Heavenly Father: ‘Father, your son has been a gift to us.” Well, certainly this is true, but there is a great beauty in the words of Jesus today.
Jesus desires for us to know how much he loves us. The beauty of these words makes more sense when we remember that Jesus is a Divine Person who is both fully human and fully divine. He has lived the fullness of a human life. Consequently, he has been impacted by human relationships. He has seen the kindness of our hearts, our willingness to love someone in need, and our capacity to love someone who previously thought they were unlovable. Yes, its also true that he has seen the other side of our humanness, that is, Jesus has witnessed our selfishness, our inability to serve one in need, and our love for superficial things that will have no place in heaven. But for today, that’s not the focus.
The focus, is how much we have been a gift to Jesus. This should impact each of us in our hearts deeply. That there is something so awesome and so great about humanity, that Jesus is moved with great love to give God the Father thanks for them as a gift. This should also affirm in our own hearts that Jesus loves of us in totality. He loves in both our strengths and our weaknesses.
Have you thought about how you’ve been a gift to Jesus lately? What in your life would Jesus be moved by? Would Jesus simply be moved by the faith, kindness, and love that he would find in your heart? What have you done for others motivated by his love that would make Our Lord proud? Have you simply meditated on just how much of a gift you are to the Lord, to your family, and to your friends?
We all have gifts and talents. And we all love and teach one another to love more deeply. Sure there is a time and a place to pray and seek God’s forgiveness for our failings, but this should always be done under light of God’s love for us; never without. So, today, let us be affirmed by Jesus’ Gratitude for us. Let it call us on to conversion and to a greater zeal to love one another as he has loved us.