Homily May 24th, 2023

Wednesday of the Seventh Week of Easter – Jn 17:11b-19

Today’s Gospel continues Christ’s high priestly prayer, as He begs the Father for numerous graces that His followers will need. What stands out is the very end of the passage, where Christ prays to His Father, asking Him to “Consecrate [His followers] in the truth. Your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I sent them into the world. And I consecrate myself for them, so that they also may be consecrated in truth.”

In order to understand what Jesus means, we should consider, first, the very specific word He uses for consecrate, and, then, how it applies to us and our lives.

First, the word Jesus uses for consecrate, ἁγιάζω (hagiazó), comes from the adjective meaning holy. Biblical scholars tell us that the word has two basic meanings or implications. First, the verb means to set apart for something special.[1] When God calls Jeremiah the Prophet, He tells Him: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you, a prophet to the nations I appointed you” (1:5). In other words, Jeremiah’s consecration meant that he was to set apart from everything and everyone else.

However, to consecrate also has another meaning: “it also means to equip [the person] with the qualities of mind and heart and character which are necessary for that task. If someone is to serve God, he or she must have something of God’s goodness and God’s wisdom.” The one who is to serve God must be equipped to do it, and this is precisely what God does when He consecrates we who believe; we’re not only set apart, but also given all the graces and gifts we need to fulfill our mission to be in the world but not of the world, all the while bearing witness to Christ.

We can apply this truth to our lives, following the advice of Saint Athanasius, who writes: “We are made [children] through Christ by adoption and grace, partaking of His Spirit.” We know that Christ is both the Word and the Truth, since He says “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” Hence, when He addresses the Father, He says “Consecrate them in the Truth, your Word is Truth.” In other words, consecrate them in your Son. “By imitation of this truth, we because virtuous and children of God. . . .  [We become] such as He is; as He, who is the Word, is in His Father,” so we too might be united to the Father and one with Him.[2]

Christ is the Truth: how well do we imitate this in our lives? Do our words speak the truth? Even more importantly, do our actions reveal the loving God we say we love and serve? If not, “the Truth is not in us,” and we fall short of being the adopted sons and daughters God calls us to be. If we do live in such a way to reveal God the Father through our words and actions, then has Christ’s prayer truly been fulfilled in us.

Let us pray, in a particular way through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Truth, for the grace to remain in Jesus Christ and in the Father, and this by remaining firmly in the truth, living in and adhering to it in both word and deed.

[1] Cf. the commentary of William Barclay.

[2] Discourses Against the Arians, 3.25.19.



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