7th Sunday in Easter, Year A
1 Peter 4:13-16
June 1, 2014
On Thursday we celebrated the Ascension of Jesus into Heaven where he returns to be seated at the right hand of the Father. Before ascending Jesus told his disciples to wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit.
As they wait for Pentecost, they gather once again in the upper room and devoted themselves to prayer. We might wonder what they prayed for. Most likely at least part of their prayer revolved around the mission that Jesus had given them to go and baptize all nations. What would this mean for them? What lied ahead?
Hopefully they also remembered how Jesus taught them, and teaches us, to pray, the Our Father. As they prayed about the mission that Jesus had given them, they must have prayed for God’s will to be done and for the strength, the daily bread, they needed to fulfill the mission.
In the gospel today we hear Jesus himself praying. He speaks of how he has glorified the Father. How did he glorify the Father? By doing his will, dying for us on the Cross.
Jesus asks his Father to glorify him. How is Jesus glorified by the Father? Jesus is gloried in the Crucifixion and Resurrection, revealing God’s awesome power at work in him. As Jesus rises and ascends into Heaven, he is glorified by the Father, seated at his right hand.
As Jesus prayed, he prayed for his disciples. I wonder if the disciples prayed for those to whom they would preach and minister.
Right after this prayer, Jesus enters into his Passion where he suffers and dies for us. Jesus would pray that this cup might pass from him, but that not his will but his Father’s be done.
I wonder if the disciples prayed that they won’t have to suffer.
Peter actually tells us that we should rejoice when we suffer in the name of Jesus. Now, he doesn’t tell us to rejoice in all suffering. Just that suffering that is because of our faith.
Peter goes so far to tell us that we are blessed when we are insulted in Jesus’ name.
Have you ever felt insulted because of what you said about Jesus? Ridiculed? Ignored? What was your reaction? Do you stand up for Jesus or did you run away? Have you stopped talking about Jesus?
Or perhaps you have never felt insulted because of Jesus. Why? Perhaps you’re so fortunate as to be surrounding by people who believe in Jesus. Or is it because you never talk about Jesus?
Why won’t we talk about Jesus? Are we embarrassed to be known as Catholics? Do we rate avoiding conflict higher than talking about Jesus?
It isn’t easy. Talking about God got Jesus crucified. Most of the Apostles became martyrs because they spoke about Jesus. They did it anyway!
When we talk about Jesus we glorify him by saying he is important. When we say no to sin, we glorify God by saying God’s will is the best way. We glorify God when our words and actions say God’s Will is the proper way.
Suffering is not pleasant or we won’t call it suffering. Yet, it is in suffering that we often show others what we believe. In fact, it is in suffering, that we can find out for ourselves what we really belief. In suffering do we turn to God for strength or do we figure that God must not exist if bad things happen?
Jesus suffered on the Cross so that we might live. Are you willing to suffer for Jesus?